Diagnostics & Imaging

Emory offers a complete array of diagnostic and imaging services at our state-of-the-art facility. Imaging procedures are important in determining the extent of liver and pancreas diseases prior to deciding on treatment. Imaging tests that the Emory Liver and Pancreas Program offers include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET), advanced endoscopy, interventional radiology and ultrasound.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI uses radio waves and a powerful magnet to create images of the liver and pancreas. MRI is the most advanced imaging technology available today and is considered safer than other imaging techniques because it is noninvasive and does not use X-rays. MRI can detect liver and pancreas diseases, as well as abnormalities such as tumors and blockages. MRI is often used when results of a CT scan are unclear. Download (PDF 220 KB) and print our Your Guide to MRI brochure.

Computed Tomography (CT)
CT scans involve directing a thin X-ray beam at a precise area of the body. CT is useful in detecting tumors and other structural abnormalities. Download (PDF 204 KB) and print Your Guide to CT brochure.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
This nuclear medicine imaging technique provides a three-dimensional image of the liver or pancreas and its related structures. PET is often used in conjunction with CT to produce more accurate and detailed pictures. Download (PDF 224 KB) and print our Your Guide to PET/CT brochure.

Advanced Endoscopy
Endoscopy plays an important role in diagnosing and managing liver and pancreas diseases. Endoscopy uses an endoscope, a narrow, lighted tube with a fiber optic camera at the end, to visualize the liver and associated structures. Small instruments can be passed through the endoscope so that a surgeon can perform minimally invasive procedures.

Interventional Radiology
‘Interventional radiology’ is a subspecialty of radiology in which minimally invasive procedures are performed using image guidance. It can be used to treat a number of liver and pancreas conditions.

TIPS (Transjugular Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt)
A TIPS procedure is often used to treat portal hypertension. Portal hypertension develops in patients with liver disease when blood flow in the liver is slowed or blocked by scarring. In TIPS, the doctor threads a catheter through an incision in the neck and uses X-ray imaging to guide it to the blocked blood vessels in the liver. The doctor then tunnels through the blockage and places a stent (small, hollow tube) in the vessel to keep it open. Interventional radiology is similarly used to repair bile duct obstructions or leaks.

Ultrasound
This technique uses sound waves to provide images of the hepato-biliary system. It is safe and inexpensive. Ultrasound is often used to detect structural abnormalities, such as gallstones, blocked ducts and tumors, rather than widespread abnormalities such as cirrhosis. Download (PDF 224 KB) and print Your Guide to Diagnostic Ultrasound brochure.

Liver Conditions