What Is The Best Imaging For the Liver?

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What Is The Best Imaging For the Liver?

What Is The Best Imaging For the Liver?

Your liver is an organ that gets easily affected by the modern lifestyles we lead today. The increasing rate of alcohol consumption and a regular cheat with deep-fried oily munchies are the causes. And so are obesity, certain medication intake, and unprotected sexual intercourse!

Thus, your doctor needs different tests to diagnose different liver conditions. Sometimes, one scan, and sometimes followed by another! Your doctor needs to check for the anatomical structure of your liver and its functioning. So, multiple modalities pop up concerning what is the best imaging for the liver! Discover why and when your doctor picks one!

Computed Tomography (CT) Vs. Ultrasound: The Preliminary Ones!

CT scan is the top diagnostic modality that your doctor may recommend in the first place for liver screening. So is an ultrasound! Both are quick and non-invasive process, painless and does not demand a hospital stay.

CT Scans are known for their effective role during emergency cases, especially liver injuries, and bleeding. But, your doctor may recommend it to visualize the distinction between non-obstructive and obstructive jaundice. The scan can help your doctor determine whether the obstacle causing jaundice is lithiasis. It can reveal liver abscesses (collection of pus).

As per some studies, A  CT scan is superior in identifying and evaluating hepatic metastases, where liver cancer is a spread of cancerous growth from other body parts. Perhaps, it is 99% specific and about 80 to 90% sensitive in diagnosing liver metastases.

On top of that, advanced CT modalities are out in the healthcare sector to visualize liver tissues. The popular one is the dual-energy CT scan! It can help differentiate calcium, iodine, and uric acid crystals from the soft tissues in your liver.

However, be it an advanced method or a conventional one, a CT scan involve radiation and thus may make the patient vulnerable to other health complications. That is why your doctor may go for the safest modality, the ultrasound. Although this scan is not as precise as a CT scan, it may detect diverse liver diseases.

Doctors ask for an ultrasound to examine if there are any structural changes in your liver. Yes. An ultrasound can help diagnose scarring and fatty deposits in your liver. It can show if your liver has turned hard. It can also detect additional masses or lesions.

Doctors use ultrasound to diagnose pregnancy-related liver problems, such as cholestasis (blocked or reduced bole flow) or pre-eclampsia (pregnancy-related liver dysfunction). Your doctor may even look for an alcohol-related liver injury using ultrasound, or specifically a transabdominal ultrasound.

An ultrasound can check if any blood vessels are lumping in your liver or Haemangioma. Sometimes, it is also used as a second test when your blood test report indicates the high presence of liver enzymes.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Crucial For Deeper Complex Cases!

If your CT or Ultrasound report does not clarify your liver disease, your doctor may prescribe a second test. Typically, it is an MRI scan having no invasion and no radiation! This scan can help your doctor see your liver’s soft tissues in detail, thereby diagnosing complex cases at their early stage, like liver cirrhosis or cancer.

Yes. If and when your liver tissues have scars & your liver functioning gets disrupted, an MRI scan can reveal it! Studies show that an MRI is 88% specific and 84% sensitive in detecting liver cirrhosis.

An MRI scan can screen non-cancerous lesions in the liver and evaluate their progress. Doctors use it to measure the blood supply to your liver. This helps them to trace whether any vascular disease affects your liver!

According to many research studies, MRI is a superior imaging modality in detecting fatty liver diseases and liver cancers. For about 75% of cases where this scan got used, the results came accurate. Medical experts often claim that a CT is not as sensitive as an MRI to quantify non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, such as liver steatosis.

Multiple advanced MRI techniques are out these days and serve better than advanced CT techniques in diagnosing Hepatic fibrosis, even when they are small. As per the National Center of Biotechnology Information (NCBI), an MRI scan is 89.6% accurate in detecting fibrosis.

Doctors order an MRI scan to locate the right area for a biopsy. Instead, it outperforms the need for a biopsy many a time. It can help doctors determine the shape, size, position, and stage of liver cancers. That is when an MRI scan comes to the top position when discussing which is the best imaging for the liver.

However, an MRI is too expensive than other imaging tests. It is not easily accessible. The test may take longer than 90 minutes, and you might feel claustrophobic inside the tube-shaped scanner.

Positron Emission Tomography or PET Scan: The Functional Test!

Your doctor may recommend a functional screening for your liver disease. And it is none other than the PET scan. Today, it is a dynamic modality to assess the rate of glucose transportation to your liver tissues from the bloodstream. A higher metabolic rate in the test report indicates an underlying liver cancer. The cancerous cells resemble some bright spots on the PET image.

A PET  scan is a non-invasive, painless process like the others and helps examine liver metastasis. Many medical experts claim that a PET scan is better than a contrast-enhanced CT or MRI in evaluating the stage of liver cancer. It can also detect if another liver disease mimics cancer.

Doctors prefer a PET scan to measure liver inflammation levels during non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Herein, a PET scan can help with early screening, thereby reducing the vulnerability to developing liver cirrhosis.

In fact, a PET scan is a powerful imaging test to trace the origin tissue in liver cirrhosis cases. It can show whether the fluid collection in your liver (called liver ascites) occurs due to a cancerous growth or non-cancerous liver cirrhosis. Doctors even order PET scans to check if your liver cancer has relapsed.

Concluding Thoughts:

So, the bottom line is a CT scan, Ultrasound, MRI, and PET scan take the stage to serve as the best imaging for the liver in different conditions. Only your doctor can say which one is the best for you for the particular moment. You undoubtedly have to follow what the professionals say!

If you need to get a liver MRI done in Chandigarh, you can book your test from our website, www.mrichandigarh.com. All you need for this is your doctor’s recommendation!

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About author
Hi, I am Alka Tiwari, Founder & Patient Care Executive at MRIChandigarh.com. Helping you get the diagnostics scans services like MRI, CT Scan, UltraSound & PET Scan, etc at the best price. At MRIChandigarh's blog, I will be writing to create awareness and to educate you about how and where to get diagnostic scans done in Chandigarh at the best price with best-in-class services.
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