Liver MR elastography technique and image interpretation: Pearls and pitfalls

Flavius F. Guglielmo, Sudhakar K. Venkatesh, Donald G. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Liver MR elastography is an imaging technique used to measure liver stiffness in the evaluation for possible fibrosis or cirrhosis. Liver stiffness measurement (LSM) is useful for predicting the stage of liver fibrosis. However, obtaining and reporting accurate and reliable LSMs with MR elastography requires an understanding of the three core components of liver MR elastography: Optimization of imaging technique, prompt quality control of images, and proper interpretation and reporting of elastogram findings. When performing MR elastography, six important technical parameters that should be optimized are patient fasting before the examination, proper passive driver placement, proper MR elastography section positioning over the largest area of the liver, use of MR elastography– related sequences at end expiration, choosing the best timing of the MR elastography sequence, and optimization of several essential pulse sequence parameters. As soon as the MR elastography examination is performed, the elastograms should be reviewed to ensure that they are of diagnostic quality so that corrective steps can be taken, if needed, and MR elastography can be repeated before the diagnostic portion of the examination concludes. Finally, the interpreting radiologist needs to understand and be able to perform the proper technique for LSMs, including determining which areas of the liver to include or avoid in the measurements; knowing which conditions, other than fibrosis or cirrhosis, can increase liver stiffness; and understanding how to report elastography results. This article reviews the proper technique for performing liver MR elastography and subsequent quality control assessment, as well as the principles for interpreting and reporting studies. This review may be helpful for implementing and operating a clinical liver MR elastography service.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1983-2002
Number of pages20
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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