MR elastography in primary sclerosing cholangitis: a pictorial review

Christopher L. Welle, Patrick J. Navin, Michael C. Olson, Safa Hoodeshenas, Michael S. Torbenson, Sudhakar K. Venkatesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a chronic cholestatic liver disease characterized by biliary ductal inflammation and fibrosis causing both intrahepatic and extrahepatic biliary strictures and dilatation. There is currently no effective medical treatment and the disease leads to cirrhosis and liver failure, with patients often requiring liver transplantation in end-stage disease. Liver fibrosis is one of the most important factors in determining patient outcome in PSC, and the diagnosis and monitoring of fibrosis are vital to patient care. MRI with magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography is the non-invasive imaging modality of choice in PSC and is useful for the evaluation of parenchymal and biliary changes. Biliary ductal abnormalities, however, cannot always predict the presence of liver fibrosis and alternative means are needed. MR Elastography (MRE) is the most accurate non-invasive method for assessing liver fibrosis and is particularly helpful in PSC due to unique hepatic manifestations. Like other non-invasive modalities, MRE measures liver stiffness as an indirect method for assessing fibrosis. Given the ability of MRE to assess liver fibrosis and the importance of fibrosis in PSC patients, MRE can reliably predict patient outcome. In this pictorial review, we will review MR findings of PSC, with an emphasis on MRE, and demonstrate scenarios where MRE is particularly helpful in evaluating PSC patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-78
Number of pages16
JournalAbdominal Radiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • Hepatic fibrosis
  • Liver stiffness
  • MR elastography
  • Macroregenerative nodule
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Gastroenterology
  • Urology


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