Evaluation of the liver by MRI


In a magnetic resonance examination (MRI), the patient is pushed into a tube fitted with magnetic coils. With the help of electricity, a magnetic field begins to build up, which then generates an image via complex calculation processes.


An MRI of the liver is always performed when other imaging techniques cannot provide an accurate image of the liver. In general, it can be said that the imaging of soft tissues and nerves, tendons, etc. can be better visualized with MRI than, for example, with computed tomography.

An X-ray image is of no use when imaging the liver, since mainly only bones can be imaged with normal X-rays. Especially if the symptoms in the right upper abdomen are unclear, a CT or MRI should be considered as a further diagnostic tool. Especially if a patient’s liver values are elevated in the blood and no cause can be found, an MRI of the liver should be considered.

An MRI examination of the liver should also be performed whenever an unclear structure of the liver tissue can be seen in the ultrasound and could not be assigned. The MRI examination takes a long time compared to other imaging procedures. An MRI examination of the liver should be scheduled for about 15-30 minutes.

An MRI examination becomes difficult if the patient suffers from anxiety, especially claustrophobia. But an MRI for claustrophobia is also possible. An MRI examination does not have to be performed on a fasting diet per se.

If, for example, an examination of the intestine or stomach is to be performed, then it is important to ensure that the patient is fasting. Otherwise, this is not necessarily important. In the case of a liver examination by MRI, the patient does not have to fast, but it can be recommended to avoid air infiltration. In this case, it is sufficient not to eat for 4 hours before the examination.