Secretin is a hormone that stimulates the exocrine pancreatic secretion of bicarbonate-rich fluid from the acinar cells of the pancreas that accumulates within the pancreatic ductal lumen. The exogenous administration of secretin improves the visualization of pancreatic ducts at magnetic resonance (MR) cholangiopancreatography (MRCP), because of an enlargement of the pancreatic duct system and an increase of the fluid content within the lumen of the pancreatic ducts, responsible of an increase of MR signal. In this review, the technique of secretin-enhanced MRCP, which has the aim to depict the whole pancreatic duct system, the biliary tree, the major and minor papillae, and the duodenum, will be described. Because of the anatomic contiguity between the pancreas and the gastrointestinal tract, the presence of fluid within the stomach may overlap with the pancreatic duct system and therefore the pancreatic duct may be difficult to visualize, representing a potential source of diagnostic pitfalls. The technique to reduce the signal intensity of the static fluid present within the stomach and in the duodenal lumen is also described. The technique of secretin administration will be illustrated, with emphasis on the synchronization of secretin administration and MR image acquisition. Furthermore, the frequency and number of MRCP images necessary to achieve a temporal resolution adequate to visualize the physiologic changes in the pancreatic gland, induced by the administration of secretin, is described. The assessment of pancreatic, morphologic, and functional response to the administration of secretin, as depicted on MRCP images, will be illustrated. Finally, the indications for secretin-enhanced MRCP will be discussed to define which patients will benefit from secretin-enhanced MR imaging for their treatment planning.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging
- Pancreatic Diseases
- Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Imaging