Characterization of focal liver lesions with contrast-enhanced ultrasound

Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology
Fabio PiscagliaLuigi Bolondi

Abstract

The introduction of second generation microbubble ultrasound (US) contrast agents, such as SonoVue (Bracco, Milan, Italy), has considerably improved the diagnostic yield of US imaging for the evaluation of focal hepatic lesions in recent years because of its ability to very sensitively depict tumoral vascularity. In addition, contrast-enhanced US (CEUS) has the advantage of the absence of ionizing radiation, the widespread availability, even at the bedside, and the possibility to characterize a lesion as soon as detected on conventional B-mode US, commonly used as the first technique for exploration of the liver. The present review focuses on the basic principles of the technique and the various patterns of benign and malignant hepatic lesions at CEUS, contributing to their characterization. Understanding of these enhancement features at CEUS according to the type of tumors enables to make more accurate characterization of focal liver lesions as well as give better advice to oncologists, hepatologists or other clinicians in case of suspected liver tumors.

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Related Concepts

SonoVue
Radiographic contrast media
Image Enhancement
Malignant Neoplasm of Liver
Phospholipids
Sulfur Hexafluoride
Tomography, Ultrasonic
Microbubbles
Malignant Neoplasms
Liver

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