1. Body Parts
  2. Liver


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A guide to liver pain: liver imaging tests & more

A lumbar spine scan can help identify the cause of pain or symptoms. It can also be used as a preventive health measure. If your doctor has recommended an imaging scan for your lumbar spine, you can explore reputable medical imaging scan centers near you using scan.com’s scan search tool.

Why do I need a liver scan?

You may require a liver scan if you are experiencing signs of liver damage, including: - Jaundice: yellowing of the skin and eyes.

  • Abdominal pain or swelling
  • Edema: swelling of legs or ankles
  • Dark urine
  • Loss of appetite

A combination of these symptoms can signify liver problems. Your liver is responsible for filtering dying cells, processing toxins, and producing bile. If your liver isn’t functioning correctly, these toxins and dead cells build up within your body and cause death. A liver scan can help determine if there is damage and the severity. The only way to begin treatment is to identify the exact cause by speaking with your doctor and possibly undergoing a liver scan.

What does a liver scan show?

A liver scan will show the liver's lobes and some of the other surrounding organs and tissues. These include:

  • Blood vessels.
  • Fat deposits.
  • Gallbladder.
  • Stomach.

A liver scan will detect any abnormalities with the liver or surrounding tissues.

Common liver pain-related diagnoses

Liver pain is a sign of a severe liver problem. Pain will usually be sharp and in the abdomen area. Causes of liver pain include:

  • Hepatitis
  • Cirrhosis
  • Liver cancer
  • Tumor

Early intervention is key to treating these diagnoses. The insight provided by imaging scans allows your doctor to create a treatment plan to help manage these diseases.

Liver scans for liver pain & liver disease

There are a few different liver imaging tests. Each one is beneficial at looking for specific conditions. The commonality between them is they will all examine the soft tissue of the liver and surrounding organs.

CT scans for the liver

A CT, or computerized tomography scan, uses a concentrated X-ray beam that moves in a circle around the body. This information is then sent to a computer, where it converts the data and turns it into an image. This type of scan will be able to see the presence of:

  • Internal bleeding
  • Tumors or lesions
  • Obstructions
  • Abscesses
  • Liver fibrosis: scarring of liver tissue

Liver MRI

A liver MRI is similar to a CT scan, but instead of X-rays, it uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create images of the liver. An MRI will take photos across three planes to generate a 3D view of the liver. An MRI will be able to see:

  • Fat deposits
  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Gallbladder
  • Stomach
  • Tumors or lesions
  • Abscesses

MRI scans can provide greater detail than CT scans.

Liver ultrasounds

A liver ultrasound uses sound waves to penetrate through the layers of tissue and provide an image of the liver and surrounding organs. Ultrasounds can differentiate between different tissue types. It can detect the presence of tumors, lesions, or other abnormal growths. But a liver ultrasound can also differentiate between necrotic and non-necrotic patches of tissue. This makes it vital in determining liver damage.

How much does a liver scan cost?

The price of a liver scan depends on the type of scan you receive. A CT or MRI scan tends to take more time than other scans and may require contrast dye. Therefore, they tend to cost significantly more than other scans, such as ultrasound scans. The average cost of a liver scan ranges from $700 to $2600.

Find a liver scan medical imaging center near me

If you need a diagnostic imaging scan, scan.com’s scan search tool can connect you with a center near you.


  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30266282/
  2. https://gis.cdc.gov/Cancer/USCS/#/Trends/
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/liver-problems/symptoms-causes/syc-20374502
  4. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/liver-scan