What is liver fibroscan?
Liver fibroscan is a rapid, painless and completely non-invasive examination of the liver. During the procedure, a technique called transient elastography is used to assess liver stiffness.
Liver fibroscan is an alternative to liver biopsy. It allows your doctor to reliably diagnose and monitor the progression of disease in the liver.
Much like ultrasound, liver fibroscan makes use of sound waves to determine the density of the liver and detect fat in the liver. Factors that may increase one's risk of fatty liver include excessive consumption of alcohol; high cholesterol; high triglyceride levels; and metabolic syndrome.
When is liver fibroscan performed?
Liver fibroscan may be recommended in the following cases:
- Alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Chronic Hepatitis C
- Chronic Hepatitis B
- Antiviral treatment follow up
- Co-infection with Hepatitis C, B, and HIV
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Portal hypertension
What does the procedure involve?
The test is performed without anaesthesia after a three hour fast. You will be asked to lie on your back with your right arm raised. A water-based gel and a probe is applied to the skin overlying the liver with a slight pressure. You can expect to feel a slight vibration at the tip of the probe.
The results of the test are obtained within minutes. This allows your doctor to establish the presence of scarring of the liver, and can confirm the diagnosis of fibrosis and cirrhosis. It also allows the quantification of fat (steatosis) in the liver. Too much fat build up in the liver can lead to a disease entity called NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis) which can eventually lead to cirrhosis if not detected and addressed early.
Cirrhosis is end stage liver disease. In cases where fatty liver has progressed to cirrhosis, one's risk of developing fatty liver disease and signs of liver failure increase considerably. For this reason, diagnosing any issues early is key in managing and treating conditions affecting the liver.