New technology measures liver elasticity without biopsy - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

New technology measures liver elasticity without biopsy

(Source: WAFF) (Source: WAFF)
MADISON, AL (WAFF) -

Ultrasound technology is just one of the modern miracles of medical diagnostic tools to help doctors diagnose and get patients treated quickly.

"But conventional ultrasound has no way of accurately measuring the stiffness of the liver," said Leslie Wallace, imaging coordinator at Madison Hospital.

During our visit, a member of the Madison Hospital staff was kind enough to take the role of patient as we learned about this new technology that gives doctors more knowledge in diagnosing liver problems. It's a new software that works with part of the ultrasound technology.

"An ultrasound probe is placed just beneath the right rib margin, and after which, a series of about 10 to 12 soundwaves are obtained through the liver in order to get an idea of the overall stiffness of the liver," said radiology chief Roderick Zalamea.

He said the stiffness or elasticity can tell a doctor about cirrhosis, fibrosis or even cancer. It can also let doctors know how a patient is responding to current treatment.

He said techs look for specific places in the liver to mark.

"You can see these are ultrasound areas of the liver. And you can see these little areas of color here. These are samplings of the liver," he said.

They are very specific about what places are marked, avoiding blood vessels.

The numbers are measured and averaged. They give the radiologist and patient's physician a diagnostic tool when it comes to treatment options, disease progression and even reverse ability.

Zalamea said previous options are more invasive.

"You do a needle biopsy of the liver, and that can be done under CT as well as well as under ultrasound as well," he said.

And there is more, which makes this a big deal at Madison Hospital.

"At this point, there is only one facility that can do that right now in the area," he said.

And that is at Madison Hospital.

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