Ultrasound imaging of the liver and bile ducts – expectations of a clinician
Krzysztof Skoczylas, Andrzej Pawełas
Since diseases of the liver and bile ducts are common, a clinician is faced by the need to implement an appropriate diagnostic process. It is necessary to apply diagnostic methods that enable appropriate assessment of the most common pathologies of the liver, i.e. fibrosis, steatosis and focal lesions, as well as initial assessment of the bile ducts. These goals can be achieved using ultrasound methods based on conventional sonography, contrast-enhanced sonography and elastography. The assessment of fatty liver and bile duct dilatation using ultrasound reaches satisfactory levels of sensitivity and specificity. The usage of contrast agents enables unambiguous differentiation between benign and malignant focal lesions, frequently allowing them to be identified accurately without the assistance of other imaging modalities. Elastography has enabled reliable assessment of liver fibrosis. Its results are comparable to those of the standard method, i.e. liver biopsy.