Cholangioresonance: What is it? Uses, Preparation, Methodology, Contraindications, Risks and Characteristics

It is a form of resonance that reproduces detailed images of the hepatobiliary and pancreatic systems.

This study covers the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts, pancreas and pancreatic ducts.

Due to the technological advances of the magnetic resonances at the beginning of the nineties, the explorations of a group of applications began in those areas in which little success had been obtained, such as the abdomen, pelvis, thorax.

Colangioresonance has improved the quality of images of the liver, pancreas and retroperitoneum .

Improving by this method the differential diagnoses thanks to the versatility of the information obtained by this modality.

In a cholangioresonance, it is only necessary to administer the contrast if one is going to study the liver or the pancreas since in the other organs the bile itself inside the ducts serves as a contrast.


A cholangioresonance is used to:

  • Assist in the diagnosis of diseases of the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts, pancreas and pancreatic ducts, such as colecolithiasis, biliary stenosis and pancreatitis .
  • As a technique to rule out the presence of stones, tumors, inflammations or infections.
  • Evaluate patients suffering from pancreatitis to detect the underlying cause.
  • Contribute to the diagnosis in the case of unexplained abdominal pain.
  • Provide a less invasive alternative to magnetic resonance, since it generally does not require sedation and does not produce radiation.
  • Show anatomical variations, such as biliopancreatic malformations.


  1. If the study is of the gallbladder and the bile duct, care should be taken to keep a minimum of 4 hours of fasting.
  2. If the study is going to be done with the use of contrast (gadolinium), you should have a minimum of 5 hours of fasting.
  3. If you are taking any treatment, it should not be suspended, unless the doctor indicates it or if the study requires it, take the treatment with as little liquid as possible.
  4. An antispasmodic tablet should be administered as a search , 1 hour before the study.


This is a non-invasive diagnostic imaging procedure, based on high-field magnetic resonance techniques.

These are used in the evaluation of biliary pathology (pancreatic), which can be performed or not with contrast.

This technique is based on the use of magnetic resonance sequences, which show the flow in the biliary and pancreatic ducts.

The magnetic resonance scanner, where the Colangioresonance is performed, generates a photograph of the tissues where the scan is performed.

Thanks to a computer that is responsible for processing the signals and creates a succession of images, which show the organs studied.

The images are then studied from various angles by the radiologist in charge of performing the interpretation.

The time a study lasts depends on the need to add contrasts for pancreas or liver, if a contrast medium is not used, the average time is 20 minutes.


Generally, you can not undergo a Colangioresonance in the following cases:

If you have implanted an electronic device, such as a pacemaker, surgical clips, artificial heart valves or a metal hearing implant.

And you should inform the doctor when:

  • They have a record of having worked with some type of metal.
  • If you are diabetic and have treatment with oral hypoglycemics.
  • If you are pregnant


When magnetic resonance imaging is performed as a Colangioresonance, ionizing radiation is not involved.

So far, there have been no documented reports of the occurrence of significant side effects in the organism caused by magnetic fields and radio waves.

The most commonly used contrast medium is gadolinium, in cases of Colangioresonance in the liver or pancreas, which until now has been very safe.

Allergic reactions to gadolinium are rare and the technician operating the machine constantly monitors the patient’s heart rate and respiration.

General characteristics

Among the most outstanding characteristics of a Colangioresonancia can be mentioned:

  • Non-invasive radiation is used.
  • It does not present complications.
  • It allows to evaluate the pathology and the information obtained is very precise.
  • It is used in a wide range of biliary and pancreatic diseases.
  • It presents some limitations, mainly in the location of the stenosis areas of the bile canaliculi and occasionally in the identification of filling defects.
  • It is a non-invasive diagnostic procedure, with high confidence indexes, becoming an alternative method to invasive procedures.
  • Colangioresonance displaced endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography as a diagnostic method.
  • Its main usefulness is the assessment of choledocholithiasis , when there is a diagnostic doubt.