Preface to the Second Edition

The practicing radiologist is continually challenged to update his/her competencies so as to deliver state-of-the-art radiological care. Nowhere is this truer than in the rapidly evolving world of magnetic resonance imaging, where innovations in both technology and diagnostic pharmaceuticals have dramatically altered the landscape of practice. MR imaging plays an important role in the management of patients with liver disease, permitting not only the detection of benign and malignant hepatic masses but also the characterization of focal and diffuse liver lesions in a single non-invasive examination. The excellent soft tissue contrast achievable on MR imaging permits accurate assessment of both the full extent of tumor infiltration and of the relationship of tumors to adjacent vascular structures. This information is vital for decisions as to the appropriate course of treatment for a given patient. With this in mind, this book is aimed at assisting busy radiologists to incorporate the experience of experts in MR imaging of the liver into their daily practice. The contributors to this book are highly acclaimed radiologists with extensive personal experience in abdominal imaging in general and liver MR imaging in particular. The product of their efforts is a book that comprehensively reviews the many diseases that affect the liver, and describes in detail the typical enhancement features of these diseases on MR imaging. Because a number of very different MR contrast agents are now available for use in MR imaging of the liver, a feature of this book is the comparative enhancement behavior of lesions on post-contrast imaging after administration of these agents. For completion, comparison is also made with the typical enhancement behavior of lesions on alternative diagnostic imaging modalities, namely ultrasound and computed tomography.

This second edition of "MRI of the Liver" is a revised and extensively updated version of the first edition published in 2003. The chapters included in the first edition have been enriched with the most recent information available in the literature, and by the inclusion of many additional images; the opportunity to directly observe the characteristic features of the lesions under discussion represents a very efficient learning tool for practicing radiologists.

Additional chapters included in the second edition are dedicated to MR imaging of hepatic pseudolesions (Chapter 5), MR imaging of the biliary tree and gallbladder (Chapter 7), MR imaging of the liver in pediatric patients (Chapter 10) and MR angiography in liver disease (Chapter 12). Finally, an entire chapter is dedicated to comparing the available contrast agents for imaging of specific liver lesions (Chapter 8).

Much of the additional information available in this edition highlights the potential of MR imaging to be a "one-stop shop" procedure for the comprehensive evaluation of the liver, hepatic vasculature, and biliary tract. This information is essential in transplant patients and can also contribute to reducing overall health-care costs by reducing the number of imaging studies and avoiding unnecessary surgery.

The editors owe a debt of gratitude to the contributors to this book for sharing their extensive knowledge with the wider radiology community. We are also grateful to Brac-co for supporting this educational endeavor. Indeed, this kind of academic-industrial partnership is what helps us provide the best care for our patients. We hope readers find the contents of this book beneficial, and we welcome feedback on how we might continue to facilitate the transfer of essential knowledge in the radiological community.

November, 2005

Sanjay Saini,M.D.

Atlanta, USA

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