Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Expert Forum
Why do they need an MRI?
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Why do they need an MRI?

I am a complicated 46 year old woman with an interesting medical file.  To give you a background history -
1995 - diagnosed whith reynouds, rhumetoid arthristis, austeoarthrits, connective tissue disease.
1999 - had esophogeal scarring - had to have it stretched - diagnosed with grade V acid reflux.  Have this done about every year and a half.  Told they saw a hernia when hey did the scope.
On many drugs to deal with the angina, arthritis, acid reflux, pain etc.
2000 - had a heart attack - followed by 5 vessel bypass
2002 - whent into respiratory failure
2003 - now diagnosed with unstable angina
2004 - blood work and ultasound showed stones in my gallbladder and the ultrasound came back as gall bladder disease.  There are quite a few doctors in my area that do lapriscopy surgery but I was reffered to a specialist in London.  Now they want to do an MRI - is this common or are they looking for something else or are they just being cautous given my medical background? I asked my physican and all that was told to me was that she would feel more comfortable sending me to a larger medical facility.  Am I reading too much into this?  My father died of a rare cancer that he was only the 5th case in North America - My brother has had his gall bladder removed.  My father had the cancer start in his colon, my brother had part of his bowel removed from polups as well as my mother.  Can you explain why they need an mri if the ultrasound and bloodwork all came back positive for gallstones and gallbladder disease.
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An MRI would be needed if an area of the ultrasound was suspicious or unclear.  I cannot say why one is needed in your case without seeing the ultrasound report.  If there is concern about a mass or cancer in the gallbladder/liver region, an MRI can be helpful in further evaluating it.

In any case, this needs to be clarified with your personal physician.  The reason why the MRI is needed should be in the ultrasound radiology report.

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Kevin, M.D.
Medical Weblog:
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5 Comments
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You should ask your doctors to clarify their desire for an MRI. There's no reason to do one for gallbladder disease, so I'd assume they have other issues in mind.
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Also forgot to add underactive thyroid.  They also told me I have a fatty liver.  Could this be what they would want to look at.  I have had many bouts of diarrea (diarrhea) and go to the bathroom no less than 10 x's per day - severe cramps - break out into a sweat when I go to the bathroom followed by dizziness.  No appetite yet I continue to put on weight around the waist. Uncontrollable vomiting during the night.  Have been in menopause since I was 39.
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What other issues would they be looking for?
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It's hard to answer the question. MRI can be directed at any area, and usually there's a specific target in mind. The fact that you are getting an MRI without knowing specifically what area is targeted makes it impossible to say what they might be looking for. Which is why it makes most sense to ask your doctors for more explanation. You are entitled to it.
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I talked to the doctors office this morning and she said that it was requested by my family physican and that it is a proceedure that is not uncommon given my medical background.  I was also told to bring the ultrasound pictures upon my visit to the mri department.
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A related discussion, mri scan was started.
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