A new study shows that an imaging technology developed by Mayo Clinic researchers can identify liver fibrosis with high accuracy and help eliminate the need for liver biopsies. Liver fibrosis is a common condition that can lead to incurable cirrhosis if not treated in time. The study, which included 113 patients, was presented Nov. 3 at The Liver Meeting, an annual gathering of the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease, in San Francisco.
The technology, called magnetic resonance elastography (MRE), produces color-coded images known as elastograms that indicate how internal organs, muscles and tissues would feel to the touch. Red is the stiffest; purple, the softest. Other imaging techniques do not provide this information.
“Knowing the liver’s elasticity or stiffness is invaluable in diagnosing liver disease,” says Jayant Talwalkar, M.D., M.P.H., a Mayo Clinic hepatologist and co-investigator on the study. “A healthy liver is very soft, while a liver with early disease begins to stiffen. A liver with cirrhosis, advanced liver disease, can be rock hard.”
For more information, please watch our Medical Edge Story on MRE.