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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 874201, 7 pages
Review Article

Diffusion-Weighted MRI for the Assessment of Liver Fibrosis: Principles and Applications

Radiodiagnostic and Radiotherapy Unit, University Hospital “Policlinico-Vittorio Emanuele”, 95123 Catania, Italy

Received 11 July 2014; Revised 14 December 2014; Accepted 1 January 2015

Academic Editor: Edward Lee

Copyright © 2015 Stefano Palmucci et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The importance of an early identification of hepatic fibrosis has been emphasized, in order to start therapy and obtain fibrosis regression. Biopsy is the gold-standard method for the assessment of liver fibrosis in chronic liver diseases, but it is limited by complications, interobserver variability, and sampling errors. Several noninvasive methods have been recently introduced into clinical routine, in order to detect liver fibrosis early. One of the most diffuse approaches is represented by diffusion-weighted liver MRI. In this review, the main technical principles are briefly reported in order to explain the rationale for clinical applications. In addition, roles of apparent diffusion coefficient, intravoxel incoherent motion, and relative apparent diffusion coefficient are also reported, showing their advantages and limits.