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Treatment of hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC) is often complicated by the fact that early HCCs are mostly asymptomatic and the carcinoma is often discovered at an advanced stage. The aim of diagnostic imaging is to detect HCC at an early stage, when curative options are available. In recent years, there have been many efforts to improve early detection of small HCC. The purpose of this article is to describe the pertinent findings of HCCs in non-invasive, diagnostic imaging, including ultrasound, computed tomography, as well as modern magnetic resonance imaging techniques. Special emphasis is given to the frequently addressed difficulties of differentiation of precancerous lesions and small HCCs. A non-invasive diagnostic approach is considered with a review of the literature.