Published online Dec 31, 2009. doi: 10.4329/wjr.v1.i1.25
Revised: December 17, 2009
Accepted: December 21, 2009
Published online: December 31, 2009
Patients with liver cirrhosis are at increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Conventional or baseline ultrasound (BUS) is often used as the first-line tool for HCC surveillance or detection, but the accuracy of BUS in HCC detection or differentiation from other focal liver lesions (FLLs) is limited. Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) represents a recent revolution in the field of ultrasonography and it has become increasingly important in the detection and evaluation of FLLs. In CEUS, HCC typically exhibits arterial hyper-enhancement and portal-venous washout represented by hypo-enhanced lesions in the portal venous and late phases. The detection rate of HCC was significantly higher with CEUS compared with BUS. Even regenerative or some dysplastic nodules may exhibit arterial hyper-enhancement as they are differentiated from HCC by its iso-enhancing pattern in portal and late phases. The contrast-enhancement patterns of other different types of benign and malignant FLLs, as well as their detection rates with CEUS, were also discussed.