Echogenicity of the liver refers to the density of the organ towards sound waves from an ultrasound, as confirmed by The Everett Clinic. An echogenic liver is more dense than usual and often signals excess fat.
A few causes of increased echogenicity of the liver include fatty liver, cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis and glycogen storage disease, as stated by Radiopaedia. Fatty liver is a common finding that affects roughly 25 percent of the population, and it may be associated with alcohol abuse, certain drugs, pregnancy and radiation. Fatty liver may also occur in individuals with Type 2 diabetes and obesity, as stated by The Everett Clinic. Approximately 80 percent of patients with this condition develop no serious problems, but 10 to 20 percent may develop a more serious condition known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. This condition may cause inflammation and fibrosis, and it can lead to liver failure in severe cases.
In addition to ultrasound, fatty liver is also diagnosed through blood tests and CT scans, according to The Everett Clinic. Although most patients present no symptoms, some individuals may have a slight tenderness in the upper right abdomen. Patients who are diagnosed with fatty liver should severely limit alcohol intake, exercise and lose weight if they are overweight.