- 1Department of Gastroenterology and Gastrointestinal Oncology, University Medical Center Goettingen, 37075 Goettingen, Germany.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common liver disease worldwide. The prevalence in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus is between 55-80%. The spectrum of NALFD ranges from simple steatosis to aggressive steatohepatitis with potentially progressive liver fibrosis up to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. In clinical practice, there are two important aims: First to make the diagnosis of NAFLD, and second, to identify patients with advanced fibrosis, because extent of fibrosis is strongly associated with overall mortality, cardiovascular disease, hepatocellular carcinoma, and extrahepatic malignancy. Histology by liver biopsy can deliver this information, but it is an invasive procedure with rare, but potentially severe, complications. Therefore, non-invasive techniques were developed to stage fibrosis. Ultrasound is the primary imaging modality in the assessment of patients with confirmed or suspected NAFLD. This narrative review focus on different ultrasound methods to detect and graduate hepatic steatosis and to determine grade of fibrosis using elastography-methods, such as transient elastography and 2-dimensional shear wave elastography in patients with NAFLD. Particular attention is paid to the application and limitations in overweight patients in clinical practice. Finally, the role of B-mode ultrasound in NAFLD patients to screen for hepatocellular carcinoma is outlined.