Liver Ultrasound Shear Wave Elastography
Liver disease diagnosis and monitoring without a biopsy.
Background: Liver Fibrosis and Cirrhosis
“Cirrhosis of the liver,” which involves loss of liver function due to the formation of scar tissue, may be a term familiar to many. However, what may be less familiar are the many causes of the disease, as well as an earlier, preceding disease stage called fibrosis. In fibrosis, the process of scar tissue formation in the liver has begun but has not yet progressed to the irreversible tissue damage that occurs with cirrhosis. Among the conditions associated with fibrosis and cirrhosis are:
- Viral hepatitis
- Type 2 diabetes
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Excessive alcohol intake
The Importance of Early Detection and the Role of Liver Ultrasound Elastography
Regardless of cause, detecting liver fibrosis before it has progressed to cirrhosis can make a significant difference in patient outcomes. The good news is that liver ultrasound shear-wave elastography enables radiologists to accurately diagnose liver disease without subjecting the patient to an invasive liver biopsy.
Instead of requiring extraction of an actual sample of liver tissue for testing, elastography makes it possible to measure the stiffness of liver tissue through the advanced technology of shear wave ultrasound. Elastography evaluates the degree of stiffness of liver tissue and assigns a score that correlates with the level of fibrotic changes present.
Other Benefits of Liver Ultrasound Shear Wave Elastography
In addition to the non-invasive nature of the procedure, liver ultrasound shear wave elastography also offers patients the benefits of:
- No risk of complications
- Ease of repeated exams for patients who need regular monitoring of their liver health
- Interpretation by an expert diagnostic radiologist
- Prompt reports to the referring physician
- Ability to complete the exams at Princeton Radiology’s convenient outpatient imaging centers
- Reduced cost
Who Is a Candidate?
Patients are candidates for liver ultrasound shear wave elastography if they:
- Need initial diagnosis or staging of chronic liver disease, such as chronic viral hepatitis or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Have known cirrhosis that requires assessment and staging
- Have unexplained portal hypertension
- Require follow-up after an initial diagnosis of liver fibrosis, to monitor disease progression
- Are in treatment for liver disease and need follow-up to monitor response to treatment or identify the need for adjustments to treatment
Scheduling or Additional Information
To schedule, patients with a referral for liver ultrasound shear wave elastography can call 609.921.8211 for an appointment at our Monroe office, 973.696.5770 for an appointment at our Wayne office, or REQUEST AN APPOINTMENT.
Referring physicians seeking more information about liver ultrasound shear wave elastography can call 609.921.8211 to request a consultation with a Princeton Radiologist.