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I recently had a CT scan and ultrasound of the liver to try and determine the cause of a "density" in my liver. These were inconclusive and I then had a CT scan without and with contrast. The report suggested possibilities include atypical hemangioma or neoplasm and recommended an MRI.

What is the difference in the two and will the MRI give any better results?


We use these two modalities of imaging as complementary. Some believe that MR imaging is better for liver lesions than CT. It depends upon what the tumor (lesion) is. CT uses radiation to look at different densities of tissue. MR imaging uses a magnet in which a field is generated and water molecules flip back and forth.

It would be entirely reasonable that if one modality of imaging showed something equivocal, to try imaging your liver with another.

Ultimately, if the imaging studies (both CT and MR) are not definitive, then a biopsy (taking a piece of the tumor) would be indicated.

I hope this helps.

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Response by:

Steven  M Rudich, MD, PhD, FACS Steven M Rudich, MD, PhD, FACS
Professor of Surgery, Director of Liver Transplat and Hepatobiliary Surgery
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati