Why it's done

MRE measures the stiffness of liver tissue in people with known or suspected liver disease. Liver disease can result in scarring of the liver (fibrosis), which increases the stiffness of liver tissue.

Often, people with liver fibrosis don't experience any signs or symptoms. But untreated liver fibrosis may progress to cirrhosis (advanced fibrosis and scarring), which can be fatal. If diagnosed, liver fibrosis often can be treated to halt progression and sometimes to reverse the condition.

Research shows that MRE is a very effective tool for diagnosing advanced liver fibrosis. If you have liver fibrosis, MRE can help gauge the severity of your liver disease, guide treatment decisions and determine how well you will respond to treatment.

The traditional test for liver fibrosis uses a needle to extract a sample (biopsy) of liver tissue. An MRE scan offers several advantages:

  • It's noninvasive and generally safer and more comfortable than biopsy is.
  • It assesses the entire liver, not just the portion of liver tissue that is biopsied or imaged by other noninvasive tests.
  • It can detect fibrosis at an earlier stage than can other imaging methods.
  • It is effective in people who are obese.
  • It can help predict the risk of certain liver complications, including fluid accumulation in the abdomen (ascites).
Aug. 02, 2017
References
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