Q:

What is an echogenic liver?

A:

The Everett Clinic explains that “echogenic livers” are those that return stronger than usual responses to the sound waves emitted by the ultrasound machine. Ultrasound machines work by sending a harmless series of sound waves into the patient’s body. A computer inside the machine measures the echo of these waves and displays the results visually. The strength of the echo primarily varies based on the density of the object.

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According to The Everett Clinic, fatty livers often produce these stronger than normal, or “echogenic,” echo returns. This occurs because the increased amount of fat around the liver increases the overall density of the organ enough to produce the relatively strong echo. However, a fatty liver cannot be positively diagnosed via an ultrasound, as the ultrasound does not measure the amount of fat in the liver.

The Everett Clinic states that a fatty liver occurs when the liver fails to store and burn fat in the right ratios. If more fat is stored than burned, fat can accumulate. This often causes people to have abnormal liver blood tests, which is the reason for the ultrasound examination in the first place. A fatty liver is also detectable via CT scan. Fortunately, The Everett Clinic states that up to 80 percent of people who have a fatty liver do not develop serious health problems from it.

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