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J Comput Assist Tomogr. 2009 May-Jun;33(3):363-8. doi: 10.1097/RCT.0b013e3181852193.

Another dimension in magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography: comparison of 2- and 3-dimensional magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography for the evaluation of intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm of the pancreas.

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Division of Abdominal Imaging and Intervention, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA.



The purpose of this study was to compare 2-dimensional (2D) and 3D magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) for image quality and diagnostic performance in the evaluation of pathologically verified intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN) of the pancreas.


In this institutional review board-approved retrospective review, 21 patients (14 women and 7 men; mean age, 69 years; range, 43-93 years) who underwent 2D and 3D MRCPs on a 1.5-T system for pathologically confirmed IPMN were studied. Two-dimensional MRCP protocol included multiplanar thin- and thick-slab single-shot fast spin-echo imaging, coronal single-shot fast spin-echo, and transverse T2-weighted fast spin-echo imaging. Three-dimensional MRCP was performed using a fast-recovery fast spin-echo sequence with single-volume acquisition and maximum intensity projection reconstructions. Using a 5-point scale, 2 readers independently evaluated MRCPs for (1) image quality, (2) visualization of the pancreatic duct (PD), and (3) visualization of the cystic lesions. Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm's morphological features (septa, mural nodules, and duct communication) were also graded similarly to predict benignity or malignancy. Surgical and pathological data served as reference standard. A pancreatic surgeon reviewed the 21 MRCPs to determine the usefulness of 3D MRCP compared with that of 2D MRCP for surgical planning.


Of the 21 IPMNs, 11 were side-branch IPMNs and 10 were main-duct-lesions IPMNs with side-branch involvement. A statistically significant improvement in image quality and visualization of the PD and cystic lesion was demonstrated with 3D MRCP in comparison with that demonstrated with 2D MRCP (P < or = 0.002). The morphological details of IPMN were also identified, with higher confidence with 3D MRCP in comparison with that using 2D MRCP. Two-dimensional and 3D MRCPs performed similarly for predicting benign and malignant lesions, with sensitivity ranging from 50.0% to 66.7% and specificity ranging from 86.7% to 93.3%. The pancreatic surgeon preferred 3D to 2D MRCP for surgical evaluation and planning in 14 of 21 cases.


Compared with 2D MRCP, 3D MRCP provides better image quality, offers superior evaluation of the PD and morphological details of IPMN, and is preferred for surgical planning.

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