The Role of Magnetic Resonance in Evaluating Abdominopelvic Trauma - Part 1: Pancreatic and Hepatobiliary Injuries

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Trauma is an important cause of mortality, particularly in the young. While computed tomography (CT) is the mainstay of body imaging in the setting of trauma, magnetic resonance (MR) imaging can be useful in stable patients. Although more commonly used in spinal and musculoskeletal trauma, MR also has a role in abdominopelvic trauma. Broadly, its uses include clarification of equivocal cases, monitoring complications of trauma, particularly with solid organ injury, or as a primary imaging modality for patients with low suspicion for injury for whom avoiding ionizing radiation is a priority—namely, in pediatric and pregnant patients. In this two-part review article, we will review clinical scenarios where this may be encountered, utilizing case examples. This first installment will focus on pancreatic and hepatobiliary injuries. Pancreatic trauma may be difficult to diagnose on CT, and MR may aid in demonstrating pancreatic duct disruption, allowing for accurate grading according to American Association for the Surgery of Trauma (AAST) criteria. It may also be a useful modality for monitoring evolution of pancreatic injuries and/or pseudocyst development, guiding potential stenting, and/or drainage. Biliary injuries are also optimally evaluated with MR, particularly when aided by the use of hepatobiliary contrast material. This can allow for accurate delineation of biliary ductal anatomy and aid in planning percutaneous or endoscopic treatment of bile leaks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)680-688
Number of pages9
JournalCanadian Association of Radiologists Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • biliary injury
  • hepatic injury
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • pancreatic injury
  • trauma


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