Ultrasound is a non-invasive, fast, relatively inexpensive and available tool for estimating adiposity in clinical practice, and in several research settings. It does not expose patients to ionizing radiation risks, making the method ideal for the evaluation, and for follow-up studies. Several parameters and indexes based on adipose tissue thickness have been introduced and tested, and these have been correlated with clinical and laboratoristic parameters. Moreover, ultrasound can also be directed to the estimation of adipose tissue and intracellular fat indirectly, at cellular-molecular level: an opportunity for many radiologists who already and sometimes unconsciously perform "body composition" assessment when looking at the liver, at muscle as well as at other organs. However, standardized procedure and parameters are needing to improve accuracy and reproducibility. The purposes of this review are: 1) to provide a complete overview of the most used and shared measurements of adiposity; 2) to analyze technical conditions, accuracy, and clinical meaning of ultrasound in the study of body composition; 3) to provide some elements for the use of ultrasound in the evaluation of intra-cellular lipids accumulation, in two hot spots: liver and skeletal muscle.
- Metabolic disorders
- Technical aspects
- Tissue characterization
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging