What Does a Cat Scan for the Liver Show?

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CAT scans (sometimes also called CT scans or computerized tomography) are non-invasive diagnostic tests, which create detailed images of your inner organs, tissues, blood vessels and bones. Having a CAT scan of the liver can reveal liver cancer, cirrhosis, fatty liver, Gilbert’s disease or provide guidance for a biopsy.

Tumors

CT scans may detect existing liver tumors and help your doctor to determine how many tumors you have, as well as the tumor’s location.

Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is characterized by scarring of your liver tissue and enlargement of your liver, which can be seen with a CAT scan. Cirrhosis is caused by alcohol abuse, hepatitis and certain autoimmune conditions.

Fatty Liver

Fatty liver is characterized by excessive fat cells gathering in your liver; it is often caused by diabetes, heavy alcohol use and extreme weight gain. CT scans will display diminished liver density, indicating the condition.

Gilbert's Disease

CAT scans can differentiate between a blocked duct (a cause of jaundice) and Gilbert’s disease (non-obstructive jaundice). This inherited disorder is characterized by your liver’s inability to effectively process bilirubin, which causes jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes).

For Use in Biopsies

Because of the detailed imaging that CT scans provide, using the test to help guide liver biopsies is extremely effective.

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