An MRI is an imaging test that creates detailed images of organs. It can help doctors detect conditions that affect the gallbladder, such as gallstones and gallbladder cancer. An MRI is usually a safe test doctors perform as an outpatient procedure.

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An MRI is a test that uses radio waves and magnets to create detailed images of tissues and organs. It can help doctors diagnose a wide range of conditions and injuries. Some include conditions that affect the gallbladder, such as gallstones and gallbladder cancer. Having an MRI of your gallbladder is typically an outpatient procedure.

The test is usually safe with few known risks. But some people may feel uncomfortable or have claustrophobia during an MRI of the gallbladder. Steps such as taking a prescription sedative from your doctor can help you prepare and relax during your gallbladder MRI.

Learn more about conditions that affect your gallbladder.

An MRI can help doctors diagnose conditions that affect your gallbladder. It can provide detailed and accurate images of the gallbladder’s surrounding area.

It can help when imaging tests such as CT scans and ultrasounds can’t get clear enough pictures.

While it’s more common to have an ultrasound exam of your gallbladder during a gallbladder workup, there are a couple of common reasons you might have an MRI of your gallbladder. It’s often the imaging test doctors use when they suspect gallbladder cancer.

This is because it can help doctors detect even small tumors. Doctors also may use MRIs to look for gallstones since gallstones that migrate out of the gallbladder and into the ducts of the biliary tract may be visible on an MRI.

An MRI of your gallbladder is typically an outpatient procedure. You might have it in a radiology lab, center, or clinic. When you arrive at the clinic on the day of your MRI, you’ll change into a hospital gown first.

A healthcare professional will then ask you to remove any metal that you wore or brought to your appointment, including keys, jewelry, and glasses.

Once you’re changed and ready, you’ll lie on a cushioned table in the MRI room. A large, tunnel-like machine will surround this table. This is the MRI machine. The table will slide into the machine during your test.

A healthcare professional might inject a specialized dye, called contrast medium, into your veins before you begin the test. This dye can help your organs and ducts appear more clearly on the MRI images. The healthcare professional will tell you whether your gallbladder MRI requires dye.

During the test, the table will slide into the machine. The MRI technician will be in the next room operating the machine. You’ll have a microphone to communicate with them if you need to. An MRI isn’t painful but can be uncomfortable for some people.

You’ll need to stay still during the entire test, and the machine will frequently make loud noises as it takes images. You’ll receive headphones to help block out the noise.

Some people may find MRIs unpleasant and might have episodes of claustrophobia or panic. If this happens during your MRI, you can alert the MRI technician. They’ll stop the test right away.

Let your doctor know whether you’re concerned about feeling anxious or panicked during an MRI. Often, doctors can prescribe a sedative or another one-time medication to help you relax during the test.

An MRI is a noninvasive outpatient test. You don’t typically need to do anything to prepare. But your doctor might have specific instructions for you. Your doctor may tell you to avoid taking certain medications on the day of your test or give you information on how much to eat and drink in the 24 hours surrounding your test.

An MRI is usually a safe procedure. While MRIs are generally low risk, all medical tests and procedures carry some risks.

Possible risks of having an MRI of your gallbladder include:

Can I have an MRI of my gallbladder if I’m pregnant?

It’s typically safe to have an MRI during pregnancy. But it’s often a good idea to have other tests during the first 3 months of pregnancy if possible. Talk with your doctor about your pregnancy and your MRI.

How long will it take to receive the results of a gallbladder MRI?

The exact time to get your results back depends on where you have the test and why a healthcare professional ordered it. Some professionals can quickly let you know the results, and others might need more time to read your results. As a general rule, it should take about a week.

How long does an MRI of the gallbladder take?

It usually takes between 15 and 30 minutes for an MRI machine to capture all the needed images. The exact time will depend on specifics, such as why a healthcare professional ordered the test.

An MRI is an imaging test that can create detailed images of the inside of the body, including the inside of organs and body passageways. Doctors often use it to diagnose conditions and injuries that affect tissues and organs, including the gallbladder.

When a healthcare professional orders an MRI of the gallbladder, it’s often to look for gallbladder gallstones. MRI tests create clear and detailed images of internal organs, so they can help doctors detect various diseases affecting the gallbladder and other organs.

An MRI is typically a safe test. It’s usually painless and has few side effects. But some people may find MRIs unpleasant.

Let your doctor know whether you think you might experience claustrophobia during an MRI. They can prescribe medication to help you relax.