Contrast-enhanced ultrasound

Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) involves the administration of intravenous contrast agents containing microbubbles of perfluorocarbon or nitrogen gas. The bubbles greatly affect ultrasound backscatter and increase vascular contrast in a similar manner to intravenous contrast agents used in CT and MRI 1.  Examples of ultrasound contrast agents available commercially include SonoVue (Bracco).

CEUS has the advantage over contrast-enhanced MRI and CT in patients with contraindications such as renal failure or contrast allergy. CEUS also allows for dynamic and repeat examinations. 

An individual microbubble is estimated to measure approximately 6 micrometers, compared to a human erythrocyte measuring approximately 9 micrometers.  Microbubbles are therefore not filtered in the lungs since they are equivalent in size to red blood cells. Microbubbles are different than the agitated saline used in echocardiographic "bubble studies".

Non-targeted contrast-enhanced ultrasound

More common method

  • dynamic evaluation of the vascularity of a target lesion, most commonly in the liver or kidney, may be useful in diagnosis
  • used to measure organ perfusion, which can be useful in diagnosing diffuse processes (e.g. cirrhosis)
Targeted contrast-enhanced ultrasound

Contrast agents designed to bind to specific molecules, which are then targeted at tissues expressing that substance.

Ultrasound - general index
Share article

Article information

rID: 27413
Section: Physics
Tags: ceus, rewrite
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • CEUS
  • Contrast-enhanced ultrasound

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Cases and figures

  • Drag
    Longitudinal cont...
    Case 1: neoplastic thrombus in IVC
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Contrast enhanced...
    Case 2: amoebic hepatic abscess
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    This image during...
    Case 3: pyogenic liver abscess
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Note, the number ...
    Case 4: hepatic haemangioma
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.
    Loadinganimation

    Alert accept

    Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

    Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.