Sitting just under your liver is a small, pear-shaped organ that stores and releases bile produced by the liver — the fluid that enables your body to assimilate fats. Supporting a healthy digestive system, the gallbladder connects to other organs through the biliary tract, with bile ducts shuttling bile from the liver to the small intestine.
Similar to other organs, the gallbladder is susceptible to diseases such as gallbladder carcinoma or gallbladder cancer. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans can be helpful in detecting cancerous lesions in the gallbladder.
Read on to learn more about MRI of the gallbladder and how to prepare for one.
Imaging tests look for abnormalities such as infections of the bile duct (known as cholangitis), tumor masses, blockages from gallstones, or other signs of swelling and infection.
Using radio waves and magnets, MRI scans of the gallbladder show images of your organs and soft tissue without the use of ionizing radiation, such as those from X-rays.
The gallbladder MRI is considered to be a helpful tool for noninvasive imaging of benign and malignant gallbladder diseases and can, at times, help differentiate between abnormalities.
Detailed images from an MRI scan of the gallbladder and bile ducts may show the presence of
These images aid healthcare practitioners in prescribing effective treatment for patients.
A health care practitioner may order a gallbladder MRI scan to uncover the cause of unexplained abdominal pain, which may point to hidden gallstones, biliary tract infections, obstructions in the pancreatic duct, or an untreated case of pancreatitis. In addition to CT scans or X-rays, health practitioners often use MRI images to aid in diagnosis of gallbladder disease.
Once an imaging test has been conducted, the health practitioner uses the images to help inform their understanding of the patient’s symptoms and decide whether surgery to remove the gallbladder, called a cholecystectomy, is necessary.
Disorders of the gallbladder can be quite painful and may lead to other health concerns. Below are a few common gallbladder disorders, as well as how an MRI scan may be used with each type:
A timely and accurate assessment is important in gallbladder treatment planning, especially for potential tumors or large gallstones.
An MRI scan may help differentiate between benign and malignant gallbladder disorders, potentially aiding in surgery direction and precluding patients who may not benefit from surgery. A 2021 study reported that early MRI scans might be useful in determining the origin of lesions in the gallbladder, which is an important piece of information clinicians may take into account when determining the course of treatment. Besides diagnosis, MRI can help determine the size of tumor or lesion in the organ and detect possible spread beyond the gallbladder.
There may be two instances of potential discomfort for patients undergoing a gallbladder MRI:
The average cost of an abdominal MRI, including imaging tests of your gallbladder and pancreas, is about $2,625 in the United States, with an additional $100 to $300 for the use of a contrast dye. Multiple factors determine the cost of an MR imaging test. Uninsured patients may pay more than insured ones, and outpatient clinics may charge less for the same scan compared to an inpatient facility. Location also affects out-of-pocket costs for an MRI.
A full MRI scan of the gallbladder may take between 30 and 60 minutes to complete. Factors that determine the length of an MRI scan include
An MRI scan may sound intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Prepare for your MRI by completing the following beforehand:
For more information, refer to the FAQs on preparing for an ezra MRI screening.
The gallbladder is a small yet powerful organ within your body. To protect your gallbladder from possible cancers, consider a routine health screening.
Ezra’s full-body MRI screening provides a picture of your overall health, allowing you to scan your gallbladder and 13 other organs in less than an hour. Book an ezra Full Body today.
By repeating these scans, health professionals can monitor a patient’s body across time, allowing them to follow up on their wellbeing, and detect potential abnormalities early. Such proactive measures may lead to lifesaving consequences. Gift a scan to a family member or friend.