Clin Mol Hepatol.  2017 Dec;23(4):290-301. 10.3350/cmh.2017.0042.

Imaging evaluation of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: focused on quantification

  • 1Department of Radiology, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has been an emerging major health problem, and the most common cause of chronic liver disease in Western countries. Traditionally, liver biopsy has been gold standard method for quantification of hepatic steatosis. However, its invasive nature with potential complication as well as measurement variability are major problem. Thus, various imaging studies have been used for evaluation of hepatic steatosis. Ultrasonography provides fairly good accuracy to detect moderate-to-severe degree hepatic steatosis, but limited accuracy for mild steatosis. Operator-dependency and subjective/qualitative nature of examination are another major drawbacks of ultrasonography. Computed tomography can be considered as an unsuitable imaging modality for evaluation of NAFLD due to potential risk of radiation exposure and limited accuracy in detecting mild steatosis. Both magnetic resonance spectroscopy and magnetic resonance imaging using chemical shift technique provide highly accurate and reproducible diagnostic performance for evaluating NAFLD, and therefore, have been used in many clinical trials as a non-invasive reference of standard method.


Quantitative assessment of Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Ultrasonography; Computed tomography; Magnetic resonance spectroscopy; Magnetic resonance imaging

MeSH Terms

Liver Diseases
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease*
Radiation Exposure
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