Background: Computed tomography scans have been used when cross-axial imaging is required to evaluate pediatric post-appendectomy abscesses. To reduce a source of radiation exposure, our institution converted to using contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging to replace computed tomography scans in this clinical context. Our aim is to evaluate the performance of magnetic resonance imaging compared to computed tomography scans and associated clinical outcomes in this patient population. Methods: A contrast-enhanced comprehensive magnetic resonance imaging protocol was implemented to evaluate a post-appendectomy abscess in 2018. A retrospective chart review was performed from 2015 to 2022 for pediatric patients (<18 years old) with prior appendectomy and subsequent cross-sectional imaging to evaluate for an intraabdominal abscess. Patient characteristics and clinical parameters between the 2 modalities were abstracted and compared using standard univariate statistics. Results: There were a total of 72 post-appendectomy patients who received cross-axial imaging, which included 43 computed tomography scans and 29 magnetic resonance imaging during the study interval. Patient demographics were comparable between cohorts and rates of perforated appendicitis at the index operation (computed tomography: 79.1% vs magnetic resonance imaging: 86.2%). Missed abscess rate, abscess size, management technique, drainage culture results, readmission, and reoperation were similar between imaging modalities. Median request to scan time was longer for magnetic resonance imaging than computed tomography (191.5 vs 108 minutes, P = .04). The median duration of a comprehensive magnetic resonance imaging scan was 32 minutes (interquartile range 28–50.5 minutes). Conclusion: Contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging provides an alternative cross-sectional imaging modality to computed tomography scans to evaluate pediatric post-appendectomy abscesses.
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