CT and MRI of the liver: diagnosis of diseases

The condition of the liver significantly affects the overall well-being of the person. This body is entrusted with a huge number of functions. The liver works as a filter and a protein synthesizer, it accumulates and breaks down glucose, participates in the production of bile, detoxifies toxic substances. Each moment of time in this body there is an unimaginable number of chemical reactions. This means that when pain, fatigue or skin discoloration occur, it is urgent to consult a doctor, hand over the prescribed tests and pass the liver MRI.

Modern diagnostic method

Many patients are prone to fear unintelligible terms, and just in case refuse the procedure. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a modern way of diagnosing internal organs. During the process, the doctor receives a layered image of the necessary part or the entire body. As a result, he can visually assess the condition of the organ, consider its features and pathologies. For example, inconspicuous in other ways of examining neoplasms, one can consider with MRI of the liver, which shows the maximum effectiveness of the method, which allows timely assistance to the patient.

When is it advisable to appoint a liver MRI?

Tomography of the liver helps to establish or confirm the diagnosis, and in some cases serves to refute the erroneous diagnosis. This procedure recognizes a variety of diseases at the earliest stage, when ultrasound and x-rays are powerless.

When you go to a doctor, you will receive an appointment for MRI of the liver if you suspect:

  • Cirrhosis of the liver ;
  • Abscess of the organ;
  • Appearance of neoplasms;
  • Tissue degeneration;
  • Dystrophy;
  • Various injuries;
  • Formation of stones in the gallbladder or ducts;
  • hepatitis.

For example, after detecting a tumor, a doctor can not only determine its size, but also obtain an accurate characterization, as well as reveal metastases. The layered image allows to examine the vessels during the MRI of the liver, which shows their patency, the presence or absence of congenital anomalies.

The patient is referred for MRI if it is necessary to determine the suitability and compliance of the liver for transplantation or to evaluate the effect of the chosen treatment method.

How to prepare for the procedure?

In the case of routine diagnosis, preparation takes 2-3 days. To obtain accurate, undistorted results, a carbohydrate diet is prescribed. 24 hours before the diagnosis, you should not use fiber, dairy products and soda. This applies to mineral waters and sweet drinks. Before the MRI of the liver should be a break in eating for at least five hours.

An urgent procedure, for example, if there is a suspicion of an organ trauma, is conducted without prior preparation.

How does the procedure work?

With the patient, all metal jewelry is removed. Clothes should be free, comfortable and without iron hardware. Removable metal dentures and hearing aids are required.

The patient is placed on a special retractable table, which is pushed into the tunnel of the diagnostic apparatus. MRI of the liver takes about 30 min. In some cases, the procedure lasts much longer, and all this time it is necessary to remain motionless. However, it is not worth worrying about, the device is equipped with internal lighting and an air inflow system. The patient is completely safe.

MRI with contrast

To increase the accuracy of diagnosis, it may be recommended to carry out MRI of the liver with contrast. A special contrast agent is injected into the vein. It spreads through a branched network of blood vessels and capillaries, allowing more detailed tissue. MRI with contrast can be used to detect occlusion or narrowing of veins, detection of tissue modification processes, detection of trauma and neoplasm (tumors).

Which diagnosis is safer - MRI or CT?

Sometimes the doctor appoints not an MRI, but a CT scan of the liver. What is the difference? MRI is based on the determination of the electromagnetic response of atomic nuclei in the presence of strong tension in a magnetic field. A computed tomography (CT abbreviation) is a measurement of the difference in X-ray radiation passing through tissues of different densities. Both these methods layer-by-layer scan the organs and produce high resolution images on the screen. These methods are not invasive and painless. The dose of X-ray irradiation with CT of the liver is minimal in comparison with a simple x-ray. With one-time scanning, both methods are safe. However, frequent and prolonged use of CT increases the radiation dose, which can cause an unwanted reaction of the body.

The choice of the diagnostic method can be done only by the doctor, based on the individual needs of the patient. Sometimes to specify the diagnosis, you have to assign several different methods of examination.


Both methods have a number of relative and absolute contraindications. Contraindications for MRI include:

  • Excess body weight exceeding the permissible standards for the apparatus;
  • Presence of metal pins, implants, fragments;
  • Pacemaker and artificial heart valve;
  • claustrophobia;
  • Kidney failure;
  • An allergic reaction to contrast.

CT of the liver can be carried out in the presence of metal particles in the body. Contraindications are:

  • pregnancy;
  • diabetes;
  • Kidney failure;
  • Lesions of the thyroid gland;
  • Myeloma.

Do not carry out diagnostics with excessive body weight and allergic reactions to contrast.

Carrying out the diagnosis, the doctor must take into account that some patients do not have the opportunity to pay for expensive procedures. In this case, instead of MRI of the liver, whose price starts at 5,500 rubles, it is advisable to appoint CT (the cost of the procedure varies from 4,000 to 8,500 rubles in different clinics).

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