Diagnostic Procedures and Imaging
Imaging is a big part of the workup for evaluating liver cancer. Studies may include Ultrasound, Angiography, Computed Tomography (CT) or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Imaging facilities are located at the University Hospital 2nd floor, Norris Cancer Center 2nd floor, or HCC II lower level. Your provider will instruct you regarding which facility you may be utilizing. A good study can provide information as to the size of the tumor, the number of tumors, and whether the tumor has involved major blood vessels locally or spread outside of the liver.
There are several types of studies, each having its merits and disadvantages. In practice, several studies combined often complement each other. On the other hand, a plain X-ray is not very helpful, and therefore, is not routinely done in the diagnostic work-up of HCC. Further, there is no practical role for nuclear medicine scans of the liver and spleen in the work-up for HCC. Such scans are not very sensitive and they provide no additional information beyond that provided by the other (Ultrasound, CT, and MRI) scans.
Almost everyone starts with an Ultrasound of the abdomen. An Ultrasound uses sound waves to look at the structures inside the body, including the liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, kidneys and the vessels important to the liver. More...
CT - Computed Tomography
CT uses x-ray to look at the structures inside the body. Like Ultrasound, CT looks at the patient's liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, kidneys and the vessels important to the liver, but also looks at the bowel and any abnormal fluid collections. More...
MRI - Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can provide very clear images of the body. Its advantage over CT is that MRI can provide sectional views of the body in different planes. More...
UTZ-Guided Liver Biopsy
Although Ultrasound, CT, and MRI scans are the best way to identify developing liver tumors, their appearance does not always indicate the type. Even if the tumor is thought to be malignant, it may be helpful to doctors to be able to see a piece of the tumor under the microscope in order to determine the best treatment. More...
Other imaging includes nuclear medicine exams, PET/CT and interventional procedures. These are not performed on a regular basis, but are available to answer specific questions. If any of these exams are required, they will be discussed with the patient at that time.