Optimizing Imaging of Pediatric Liver Lesions: Guidelines from the Pediatric LI-RADS Working Group

Govind B. Chavhan, Gary R. Schooler, Elizabeth R. Tang, Judy H. Squires, Mitchell A. Rees, Haithuy N. Nguyen, Cara E. Morin, Amy B. Kolbe, Geetika Khanna, Juan C. Infante, Adina L. Alazraki, Alexander J. Towbin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Imaging plays an important role in the diagnosis and management of focal liver lesions, and patient-related factors such as age, size, cardiac function, and ability to cooperate for imaging examinations greatly impact the imaging strategy. A differential diagnosis based on a patient’s age, clinical presentation, and serum α-fetoprotein level will help guide the initial imaging workup in children with a liver lesion. Children vary significantly in size, the ability to stay still, and the ability to breath hold for imaging examinations. Choosing and tailoring imaging techniques and protocols for each indication and age group is important for optimal care with minimal invasiveness. The need for sedation or anesthesia can be obviated by using techniques like feed and bundle, distraction, contrast-enhanced US, and motion-insensitive sequences for MRI. US is often the first imaging modality used in children with a suspected abdominal mass. Once a hepatic lesion is confirmed, multiphasic contrast-enhanced MRI is recommended for most lesions as the next imaging modality allowing full characterization of the lesion and assessment of the liver parenchyma. Contrast-enhanced CT can also be performed for assessment of pediatric focal liver lesions, especially in patients who have a contraindication to MRI. Contrast-enhanced US has shown promise to decrease the need for MRI or CT in some lesions such as hemangioma and focal nodular hyperplasia. Children with a history of malignancy can develop multiple types of hepatic lesions at various stages, including infections during an immunocompromised state, manifesting as focal liver lesions. Based on available limited data in the literature and the collective experiences of the Liver Imaging and Reporting Data System Pediatric Working Group, the authors provide guidelines for the imaging workup of pediatric focal liver lesions with an indication- and age-based approach and discuss the selection and performance of various imaging techniques and modalities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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