Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography in cystic lesions of the pancreas

R Dani, A M Cundari, C E Nogueira, G M Reis, L D Silva
Pancreas 2000, 20 (3): 313-8
There are few reports about magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) in cystic lesions of the pancreas (KLP). For this reason, we have undertaken a prospective study evaluating the diagnostic efficiency of MRCP as compared with ultrasonography. Twenty-four patients with KLP were examined with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and standard and cholangiopancreatography. There were seven cases of cysts associated with acute pancreatitis, 11 patients with KLP and chronic calcifying pancreatitis, five cases of cystic neoplasms of the pancreas, and one polycystic disease of the gland. All cases were first submitted to ultrasonography, which failed to diagnose only a case of cyst associated with chronic pancreatitis depicted by MRCP. We used a GE Signa Horizon 1.5-T system (20 examinations) and a Siemens Magneton Plus 1.5-T machine (four examinations). Eleven patients were operated on. In all cases, it was possible to identify the cysts, the main pancreatic duct and the biliary tree, and verify the relationship of the cyst with neighboring organs. Communication of the cyst with the main pancreatic duct was described in five instances, but we cannot be sure that MRCP would have depicted all cyst-duct communications. The MRI and MRCP images were confirmed by surgery in the 11 operated-on cases. The diagnosis of duct alterations and small pancreatic stones in initial cases of chronic calcifying pancreatitis may be problematic. Clinical findings are very important data to be considered in the differential diagnosis of KLP. Together with the clinical data, MRCP is a very important technique in the diagnostic and therapeutic decision making of KLP. Standard magnetic resonance is advisable as part of the examination in all cases. MRCP is not invasive, is reliable if one knows its limitations, and the patient can return at once to his activities. It allows the analysis of many variables in one examination, contributing to better therapy.

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