RadInfo Logo Home

Chronic Liver Disease

Chronic liver disease can be caused by a variety of conditions but is most commonly caused by nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, hepatitis C, hepatitis B, and alcohol-related liver disease. Over time, these conditions can lead to fibrosis (thickening, scarring of tissue) and to cirrhosis, in which the damage is so extensive that the liver does not function normally. These diseases can also result in liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma [HCC]).

In individuals with chronic liver disease, imaging tests are useful to confirm the presence and severity of fibrosis. MR elastography abdomen finds stiffening of the liver, and ultrasound shear wave elastography abdomen is usually appropriate for diagnosing and staging of fibrosis.

Individuals who have chronic viral hepatitis and cirrhosis are at high risk for developing HCC and should undergo screening with imaging. Ultrasound abdomen, MRI abdomen without and with intravenous (IV) contrast, and MRI abdomen without and with hepatobiliary contrast are usually appropriate imaging tests to diagnose HCC. MRI abdomen without IV contrast may also be appropriate.

For individuals with HCC, surveillance after treatment with imaging tests is recommended to detect a possible return of cancer. MRI abdomen without and with IV contrast, CT abdomen with IV contrast multiphase, CT abdomen without and with IV contrast, and MRI abdomen without and with hepatobiliary contrast are usually appropriate tests. The current guidelines recommend a CT or MRI scan every 3 to 6 months for 2 years and then every 6 to 12 months after the cancer is removed.

This page was reviewed on December, 15, 2021

Sponsored By

Please note

RadiologyInfo.org is not a medical facility. Please contact your physician with specific medical questions or for a referral to a radiologist or other physician. To locate a medical imaging or radiation oncology provider in your community, you can search the ACR-accredited facilities database.

This website does not provide cost information. The costs for specific medical imaging tests, treatments and procedures may vary by geographic region. Discuss the fees associated with your prescribed procedure with your doctor, the medical facility staff and/or your insurance provider to get a better understanding of the possible charges you will incur.

Web page review process: This Web page is reviewed regularly by a physician with expertise in the medical area presented and is further reviewed by committees from the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) and the American College of Radiology (ACR), comprising physicians with expertise in several radiologic areas.

Outside links: For the convenience of our users, RadiologyInfo.org provides links to relevant websites. RadiologyInfo.org, RSNA and ACR are not responsible for the content contained on the web pages found at these links.