Intravascular Ultrasound for Hepatocellular Carcinoma Staging
To diagnose hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and to determine the extent of the disease, a triphasic CT scan or a magnetic resonance imaging are required. The characterization of hepatic nodules is more difficult when the HCC lesions have a diameter of less than 2 cm. Since accuracy in the assessment of the number and the size of HCC nodules, as well as of the invasion of blood vessels is crucial to determine outcome after liver transplantation due to tumour recurrence, there is a need for techniques with a higher definition potential. As a consequence, to improve outcome and to optimize organ allocation, patients on the liver transplantation waiting list might benefit from intravascular ultrasound as an additional examination to complete the pre-transplant tumour staging process.