BACKGROUND Contrast enhanced MRI is today considered the investigation modality of choice in detection and characterization of focal liver lesions. The conventional MRI contrast media like Gadolinium (Gd) chelates undergo elimination through the urinary pathway and are not selectively concentrated or metabolized in the liver. Gadobenate dimeglumine (Chemical name: Gadolinium-BOPTA) is a promising newer liver specific MRI contrast medium having additional properties of selective uptake and biliary excretion by hepatocytes. Our study was designed as a pilot study to evaluate the utility of Gd-BOPTA in detection and characterization of focal liver lesions. METHODS Fifty-three consecutive patients with focal liver lesions (excluding only simple hepatic cysts) detected on ultrasonography and CT abdomen, were prospectively subjected to standardized MRI protocol for the liver, using Gd-BOPTA as the intravenous contrast medium. An additional T1W axial scan of the liver was incorporated in the study protocol, at a delay of 2 h post-contrast, in all patients. RESULTS In the study population, the combination of USG and contrast enhanced CT abdomen findings were adequate to reach a definitive diagnosis in 70% of the patients. The liver specificity of Gd-BOPTA contributed to improved lesional characterization in 9/50 patients (18%) on the delayed phase images. CONCLUSION The study revealed that the liver specific properties of Gd-BOPTA can be used to obtain additional information to improve characterization of focal hepatic lesions, when delayed phase scans are included in the study protocol.