What is the difference between an MRI, MRA and MRCP?
Both the MRA and MRCP are specific tests that utilize the MRI Unit. The difference lies in the type of sequence that is used and the area being examined. MRA (MR Angiography) visualizes the arteries or veins within the body. It is less invasive than a conventional angiography exam and, therefore, involves none of the customary inconveniences associated with angiography such as a brief hospital stay, a catheter, or sedation. MRA is frequently used as an alternative to angiography when indicated by the patient’s physician. MRCP (MR Cholangiopancreatography) is a non-invasive exam that visualizes the common bile duct, biliary tree and pancreatic duct. It is currently being used as a diagnostic alternative or as a preliminary step to an ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography), that involves the insertion of a flexible fiberoptic duodenoscope into the bile duct.