Focal fatty sparing areas of the pediatric steatotic liver: pseudolesions on hepatobiliary phase magnetic resonance images

Diagn Interv Radiol. 2024 Mar 6;30(2):135-138. doi: 10.4274/dir.2023.232447. Epub 2023 Nov 30.


Purpose: Focal fatty sparing in liver can be detected as hyperintense pseudolesions on hepatobiliary phase magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Distinguishing these pseudolesions from liver lesions may make diagnosis challenging. The aim of this study was to evaluate the imaging features of fatty sparing areas on liver MRI in pediatric patients who have been administered gadoxetate disodium.

Methods: A total of 63 patients between January 2018 and June 2023 underwent gadoxetate disodium-enhanced liver MRI, and 9 (14%) patients with a focal fatty sparing were included in the study. The fat spared areas were evaluated qualitatively and quantitatively including signal intensity measurements and fat fraction calculations.

Results: The liver MRI examinations of 9 patients (5 boys, 4 girls; aged 8-18 years, median age: 14.4) using gadoxetate disodium were evaluated. Based on in-phase and opposed-phase sequences, 13 areas of focal fatty sparing were identified. The mean fat fraction of the liver and fat spared areas were 26.2% (range, 15-47) and 9% (range, 2-17), respectively. All fat spared areas were hyperintense in the hepatobiliary phase images. The mean relative enhancement ratios of the liver and fat spared areas were 0.78 (range, 0.35-1.6) and 1.11 (range, 0.45-1.9), respectively.

Conclusion: Focal fatty sparing in liver in children was observed as hyperintense on hepatobiliary phase MRI, and it should not be identified as a focal liver lesion.

Keywords: Liver; children; focal fatty sparing; gadoxetate disodium; hepatic steatosis; magnetic resonance imaging.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Contrast Media
  • Fatty Liver* / diagnostic imaging
  • Fatty Liver* / pathology
  • Female
  • Gadolinium DTPA
  • Humans
  • Liver / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies


  • gadolinium ethoxybenzyl DTPA
  • Contrast Media
  • Gadolinium DTPA