An increased echogenicity across the liver refers to an increase in the level of sound waves bouncing back from the liver during an ultrasound of the region, according to Cleveland Clinic. Another term for increased echogenicity of the liver is "bright liver," referring to the brighter appearance of the liver on the ultrasound scan. This finding might indicate the presence of fatty liver disease or another problem.
Fatty tissue bounces back sound waves at a higher rate than the regular tissue found in abdominal organs, giving ultrasound technicians a good picture of the extent of fatty tissue in the liver region during an exam, according to Cleveland Clinic. On the other hand, an ultrasound is not sensitive enough to quantify the extent of the problem or distinguish its cause. An ultrasound is also less accurate if the patient is obese due to the large number of fat cells that the sound waves must traverse before reaching the liver.
Although ultrasound is successful at confirming the presence of fat deposits in the liver, it is not accurate enough to confirm the absence of fatty deposits, limiting its use as a diagnostic tool, reports Cleveland Clinic. In many cases, a liver biopsy is necessary to pinpoint the presence and extent of fatty liver disease in patients.