Ultrasound appearances of liver metastases

Dr Henry Knipe and A.Prof Frank Gaillard et al.

Ultrasound appearance of liver metastases can have bewildering variation, and the presence of hepatic steatosis can affect the sonographic appearance of liver lesions.

Radiographic features


Patterns do exist between ultrasound appearance of the liver metastases and the likely primary, which is sometimes helpful in directing a search for an unknown primary, as well as helping distinguish between benign lesions and metastatic disease from a particular primary:

Contrast-enhanced ultrasound

Contrast-enhanced ultrasound may be useful to increase the conspicuity of lesions and/or guide biopsy

  • arterial phase: variable depending on primary
    • hypovascular:  gastrointestinal, ovarian, pancreatic adenocarcinoma
    • hypervascular: neuroendocrine, melanoma, renal
  • portal venous phase
    • "wash out" (decreased echogenicity relative to background liver); may be the most useful phase for detection
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Article information

rID: 6933
Section: Gamuts
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Ultrasound features of liver metastases
  • Liver metastases (ultrasound appearances)
  • US hepatic metastases

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: from RCC
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  • Lesion in the lef...
    Case 2: upper GI or pancreatic primary
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