Outpatient clinic for clinical ultrasound and transient elastometry

The Medicine and Hepatology Unit makes use of doctors specialised in clinical ultrasound (ultrasounds of the abdominal and neck district) as well as in the monitoring of patients suffering from liver cirrhosis for the prevention or early treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma. In day-hospital regime and with three-hour observation, it is possible to perform ultrasound-guided, percutaneous (i.e. minimally invasive) hepatic needle-biopsy, both on liver tissue for the diagnosis of a pathology that is unclear to the clinician and on suspected hepatic nodules in order to clarify their nature. In selected cases, ultrasound scans can be performed with contrast medium, foregoing more expensive and demanding investigations such as MRI or CT.  Minimally invasive interventional procedures for the treatment of liver cancer with the most modern technologies are also being studied.

The specialist area has recently been enriched by a state-of-the-art ultrasound machine which, in addition to being highly sensitive for basic diagnostics, has two innovative applications: elastometry using ARFI technology(Acoustic Radiation Forced Impulse®) and the possibility of merging of TAC or Resonance images (Fusion System). A Fibroscan® apparatus is also available for grading both fibrosis and steatosis.

Elastometry, delivered in a private regime only and executable in just a few minutes with a normal ultrasound probe or with Fibroscan®, evaluates the elasticity of the liver using the potential of ultrasonic waves, and makes it possible to obtain information about the stage of fibrosis that has been acquired only by biopsy up to now. Unlike liver biopsy, this technique can be repeated several times over time because it is non-invasive and risk-free.

The Fusion System makes it possible to define a target – inside an organ like the liver – more precisely. In selected cases, it can also guide a hepatic needle-biopsy procedure or percutaneous treatment of a hepatic tumour. Each case is discussed by a multidisciplinary team of experts from the University Campus Bio-Medico Hospital.