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Quantitative Elastography Methods in Liver Disease: Current Evidence and Future Directions


Chronic liver diseases often result in the development of liver fibrosis and ultimately, cirrhosis. Treatment strategies and prognosis differ greatly depending on the severity of liver fibrosis, thus liver fibrosis staging is clinically relevant. Traditionally, liver biopsy has been the method of choice for fibrosis evaluation. Because of liver biopsy limitations, noninvasive methods have become a key research interest in the field. Elastography enables the noninvasive measurement of tissue mechanical properties through observation of shear-wave propagation in the tissue of interest. Increasing fibrosis stage is associated with increased liver stiffness, providing a discriminatory feature that can be exploited by elastographic methods. Ultrasonographic (US) and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging elastographic methods are commercially available, each with their respective strengths and limitations. Here, the authors review the technical basis, acquisition techniques, and results and limitations of US- and MR-based elastography techniques. Diagnostic performance in the most common etiologies of chronic liver disease will be presented. Reliability, reproducibility, failure rate, and emerging advances will be discussed. © RSNA, 2018 Online supplemental material is available for this article.

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