Periampullary cancer includes cancer of the head and neck of the pancreas, cancer of the distal end of the bile duct, cancer of the ampulla of Vater, and cancer of the second part of the duodenum. Surgical resection is the only established potentially curative treatment for pancreatic and periampullary cancer. A considerable proportion of patients undergo unnecessary laparotomy because of underestimation of the extent of the cancer on computed tomography (CT) scanning. Other imaging methods such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), PET-CT, and endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) have been used to detect local invasion or distant metastases not visualised on CT scanning which could prevent unnecessary laparotomy. No systematic review or meta-analysis has examined the role of different imaging modalities in assessing the resectability with curative intent in patients with pancreatic and periampullary cancer.