Fatty liver disease is the most common cause of chronic liver disease in the United States. Noninvasive detection and quantification of fat is becoming more and more important clinically, due in large part to the growing prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Steatosis, the accumulation of fat-containing vacuoles within hepatocytes, is a key histologic feature of fatty liver disease. Liver biopsy, the current standard of reference for the assessment of steatosis, is invasive, has sampling errors, and is not appropriate in some settings. Several magnetic resonance (MR) imaging-based techniques-including chemical shift imaging, frequency-selective imaging, and MR spectroscopy-are currently in clinical use for the detection and quantification of fat-water admixtures, with each technique having important advantages, disadvantages, and limitations. These techniques permit the breakdown of the net MR signal into fat and water signal components, allowing the quantification of fat in liver tissue, and are increasingly being used in the diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of fatty liver disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging