Division of Internal Medicine, University of Bologna, General and University Hospital S. Orsola-Malpighi, Bologna, Italy. Electronic address: email@example.com.
This review illustrates the state of the art clinical applications and the future perspectives of ultrasound elastographic methods for the evaluation of chronic liver diseases, including the most widely used and validated technique, transient elastography, followed by shear wave elastography and strain imaging elastography. Liver ultrasound elastography allows the non-invasive evaluation of liver stiffness, providing information regarding the stage of fibrosis, comparable to liver biopsy which is still considered the gold standard; in this way, it can help physicians in managing patients, including the decision as to when to start antiviral treatment. The characterization of focal liver lesions and the prognostic role of the elastographic technique in the prediction of complications of cirrhosis are still under investigation.