Ultrasonography of the liver

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Author: Mikael Häggström [notes 1]

Ultrasonography of the liver is a type of ultrasonography of the abdomen.


Contrast-enhanced liver ultrasonography is often indicated in cases of focal liver changes, as well as follow-ups of metastases. In Swedish practice, it should be performed within 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the supiciousness of cancer.

Ultrasonography of cirrhosis is done without IV contrast. In Swedish practice, it should be done within 2 months in suspected cirrhosis.[notes 2]

In abnormal liver function tests without pain, a combined ultrasonography of the biliary tract and liver is indicated. In Swedish practice, it should be done within 4 to 8 weeks.[notes 2] If concurrent pain, consider ultrasonography of gallstones.

General screening

A general screening of the liver includes:

Also, in suspected liver disease, it is often indicated to perform a general upper abdominal screening.


Abdominal ultrasonography of the liver, as a sagittal plane through the midclavicular line, with some standard measurements.[1]
Normal craniocaudal dimension of the posterior surface of the right lobe of the liver at the midclavicular line at ages 0 to 7.[2]
  • Basic evaluation:
  • Maximum dimension on a sagittal plane view through the midclavicular line, which is normally up to 18 cm in adults.[1]
  • More comprehensive, also including:
  • Cranio-caudal dimension, which is normally up to 15 cm in adults.[1]
  • Ventro-dorsal dimension (or depth), which is normally up to 13 cm.[1]
  • Relative size of caudate lobe: In the axial plane, the caudate lobe should normally have a cross-section of less than 0.55 of the rest of the liver.[1]



  1. For a full list of contributors, see article history. Creators of images are attributed at the image description pages, seen by clicking on the images. See Radlines:Authorship for details.
  2. 2.0 2.1 NU Hospital Group, Sweden


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Christoph F. Dietrich, Carla Serra, Maciej Jedrzejczyk (2010-07-28). Ultrasound of the liver - EFSUMB – European Course Book. European federation of societies for ultrasound in medicine and biology (EFSUMB).
  2. Rocha, Silvia Maria Sucena da; Ferrer, Ana Paula Scoleze; Oliveira, Ilka Regina Souza de; Widman, Azzo; Chammas, Maria Cristina; Oliveira, Luiz Antonio Nunes de; Cerri, Giovanni Guido (2009). "Determinação do tamanho do fígado de crianças normais, entre 0 e 7 anos, por ultrassonografia ". Radiologia Brasileira 42 (1): 7–13. doi:10.1590/S0100-39842009000100004. ISSN 0100-3984.