Liver Magnetic Resonance Elastography (MRE)

Magnetic Resonance Elastography (MRE) is an advanced, non-invasive imaging modality designed to assess the elasticity and stiffness of various organs and structures within the body. Primarily utilized for liver evaluation, MRE offers valuable insights into liver health by detecting increased stiffness, a common indicator of progressive liver disease such as fibrosis. Early detection of liver fibrosis through MRE can be pivotal in guiding timely interventions, thereby preventing the progression to irreversible conditions like cirrhosis. MRE serves as an ideal diagnostic tool for patients seeking comprehensive liver tissue assessment and for those unable to obtain conclusive results from ultrasound examinations.

What is a Liver Elastography MRI?

Liver elastography is a specialized type of MRI which uses vibrations through your skin to create a visual representation of liver stiffness, also called an elastogram. This exam can help you and your doctor:

  • Detect and assess the severity of liver disease
  • Guide treatment decisions
  • Monitor response to treatment
  • Guide or replace a liver biopsy
  • Help predict the risk of complications of liver disease, such as spleen enlargement, bleeding and fluid accumulation in the abdomen


Alberta Health Services does not cover private MRI services outside of the hospital. The cost of a liver elastography MRI is $800.


You will arrive 30 minutes prior to your examination to complete paperwork on your history and MRI safety screening. The MRE will take approximately 20-30 additional minutes to complete, with the entire visit taking approximately 1 hour. Throughout the examination, you will be able to communicate directly with the technologist.

Frequently Asked Questions

With proper adherence to MR safety guidelines, there are no risks associated with elastography MRI.

Results of a liver MR elastography study may be hindered in patients with acute hepatitis, abnormal iron concentration in the liver, large volume of ascites, and metal within the abdomen.

MRE has multiple benefits over ultrasound elastography including the ability to assess a larger portion of the entire liver, the ability to perform the study in patients with obesity and the ability to perform this study in patients with mild to moderate ascites. In patients with known liver iron deposition, a modified test can also be performed to differentiate fibrosis from liver iron concentration. MRI is frequently recommended when ultrasound elastography was unsuccessful.