A safer, non-surgical alternative to liver biopsy, FibroScan is a painless imaging technique that measures the scarring, or fibrosis, caused by many liver diseases. Using a technology similar to ultrasound, FibroScan produces an image of the liver by measuring the speed of sound waves passing through it. The shades of color in that image then allow radiologists to determine the levels and locations of scarring within a patient’s liver.
FibroScan uses a technology called elastography, which measures the stiffness of the liver. A probe, similar to the probes used in ultrasound exams, is placed at the surface of the skin. That probe then transmits sound waves and measures the speed at which they travel through the liver. The harder, more fibrotic the tissue, the faster the sound waves will travel.
Fibroscan is excellent for diagnosing and monitoring a variety of liver conditions, including liver cancer, hepatitis and fatty liver. Because FibroScan directly measures the liver’s stiffness, it offers information that can’t be obtained through blood tests or other imaging techniques.
Ultimately, doctors and their patients can use this information to determine the best treatment plans, particularly in cases where chemotherapy or surgery may be required. For patients with early-stage liver disease, FibroScan may also reveal that invasive procedures are not necessary, and that medications and lifestyle modifications have produced positive results.
FibroScan exams are safe, quick and painless. During your procedure, you’ll be asked to lie on your back with the right side of your abdomen exposed. Your technologist will use a small, handheld probe to emit sound waves along the surface of your skin, which will be immediately analyzed and displayed by a nearby computer. There is no radiation, and you won’t need to worry about interference from metallic objects.
One of the quickest, most convenient imaging technologies available, FibroScan exams take just 5 to 15 minutes. Including the time needed to sign in and fill out forms, your entire appointment will likely take 30 minutes or less.
A radiologist will review your images as soon as they’re available, and your doctor will receive a full report within 24 hours to a few days after your appointment.*
Because food and excess fluid in the digestive tract could hamper the procedure, simply avoid eating and drinking for 3 hours before your appointment.