Non-invasive imaging techniques in assessing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a current status of available methods.

Lăpădat AM, Jianu IR, Ungureanu BS et al.

Radiology and Medical Imaging, University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Craiova, Romania.

Journal of medicine and life. .

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an ailment affecting and increasing a number of people worldwide diagnosed via non-invasive imaging techniques, at a time when a minimum harm caused by medical procedures is rightfully emphasized, more sought after, than ever before. Liver steatosis should not be taken lightly even if its evolution is largely benign as it has the potential to develop into non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) or even more concerning, hepatic cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Traditionally, liver biopsy has been the standard for diagnosing this particular liver disease, but nowadays, a consistent number of imagistic methods are available for diagnosing hepatosteatosis and choosing the one appropriate to the clinical context is the key. Although different in sensitivity and specificity when it comes to determining the hepatic fat fraction (FF), these imaging techniques possessing a diverse availability, operating difficulty, cost, and reproducibility are invaluable to any modern physician. Ultrasonography (US), computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), elastography, and spectroscopy will be discussed in order to lay out the advantages and disadvantages of their diagnostic potential and application. Although imagistics has given physicians a valuable insight into the means of managing NAFLD, the current methods are far from perfect, but given the time, they will surely be improved and the use of liver biopsy will be completely removed.