Contrast-enhanced ultrasonography in the diagnosis of gallbladder disease.
ABSTRACT Background/Aims: The aim of our study was to evaluate the enhancement patterns of gallbladder disease using contrast-enhanced ultrasonography (CE-US) with the contrast agent levovist. Methodology: The subjects were 42 patients, of whom 25 had gallbladder cancer, 2 had adenoma, 5 had adenomyomatosis, 5 had cholesterol polyps and 5 had debris. We assessed the enhancement patterns of each case using CE-US with levovist and classified these patterns into 6 types: diffuse, scattered, branched, linear, homogeneous and unenhanced. Results: The enhancement of gallbladder cancer revealed various patterns. Only 4 malignant cases showed branched patterns. We speculated that branched patterns in the present study were possibly the characteristic of malignancy. CE-US easily distinguished a small polypoid lesion from debris. Using CE-US, we visualized the shape of the gallbladder cancer lesions and some areas of direct invasion to the liver, as well as metastasis. Conclusions: CE-US is a minimally invasive diagnostic technique that is useful in visualizing not only the shape of the lesion and some areas of the direct invasion to the liver, but also metastasis. The above findings suggest that imaging using a contrast agent could lead to improvements in the diagnosis of gallbladder lesions.