A Fibroscan is a non-invasive test that helps assess the health of your liver. The procedure uses ultrasound technology to determine the degree of fibrosis or scarring that may be present in your liver from various liver diseases or conditions. This information is then used by your gastroenterologist to individualize and optimize your treatment plan. In many patients, Fibroscan can replace liver biopsy, which is a more invasive procedure. Patients who formerly had to undergo biopsies every two or three years felt threatened by the name of the procedure, but they are now able to return home immediately after the scanning. The instrument is positioned in order to emit elastic ultrasound waves to the liver. The fibroscan software then converts the velocity of the echoes into values that the doctor can use to further predict the disease. FibroScan test results are always used in conjunction with other clinical data, laboratory test results, and liver imaging in managing individual patients. The whole procedure takes only about 10 minutes and the results can help doctors to instantly determine a treatment plan.
A FibroScan is performed in order to help you and your health care provider understand your liver status and, when needed, create a care plan to support this vital organ.
-Noninvasive procedure to detect Fatty Changes in then liver as well as liver scarring. The fibroscan is a very useful diagnostic tool for a hepatologist to accurately identify patients with significant liver disease – allowing treatment to be tailored to the individuals need.
-Quick and painless way of assessing liver health. In a significant proportion of patients, Fibroscan has replaced the liver biopsy. The importance of Fibroscan lies in the fact that in many cases there are no outward signs of moderate or even severe liver disease, the fact that a 10 minute investigation can provide such critical information on liver health represents a major development in liver medicine.
-Despite its noninvasive method, Fibroscan technology allows accurate assessment of liver fibrosis resulting from various pathologies that cause damage to the liver, including metabolic syndrome and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, chronic viral hepatitis and excess alcohol intake.
-With no restriction on the frequency of use, fibroscan allows doctors to monitor the progression, stagnation or regression of an individual’s liver disease and give an accurate quantitative measure of the success of treatments or lifestyle modification.
-Factors such as liver inflammation, obesity, ascites and high central venous pressure can interfere with Fibroscan results. To overcome these limitations, doctors will use a Fibroscan with in combination with other types of liver fibrosis tests.
-There are no risks to having a fibroscan, it is not invasive and is painless.
You lie on your back, with your right arm raised behind your head. The operator applies a water-based gel to the skin and positions the probe adjacent to your liver. The operator then scans your liver to capture 10 meaningful measurements made at the same location. The result is delivered at the end of the examination as a number in “kilopascals” (kPa). Your doctor will interpret the result in conjunction with other information from your overall examination The exam is painless and non-invasive. During measurement, you feel a slight vibration on the skin at the tip of the probe. It’s also easy and fast, usually taking 5 to 10 minutes.
You will bee asked to wear loose clothing and should be able to lie flat on an exam table for 10 minutes or more while the test is being performed. Before the procedure, be sure to not consume any liquids or solids for a minimum of 3 hours before the test to increase the likelihood of obtaining reliable test results. The scan typically takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete, but patients should plan on being here for 30 minutes to allow time for preparation.
After the procedure, you will be immediately discharged from the procedure area and be able to leave without any restrictions. The doctor who completed and interpreted the procedure will send the test results to the doctor who ordered your procedure. FibroScan results will be available in about one to two weeks. You will be allowed to carry on with your daily activities
The FibroScan test is a completely non-invasive, simple and painless procedure that takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. Most patients with chronic liver disease can be assessed, but the test is not recommended or interpretable in patients with: Fluid in the abdomen (i.e. ascites, variceal bleeding or hepatic encephalopathy) Acute hepatitis Right heart failure Severe obesity Small rib spaces Inability to lie flat Pregnancy Electronic implantable devices (i.e. pacemakers, cochlear implants, etc)
What kind of results will the Fibroscan tell me?
The Fibroscan test can give you two types of information; Liver scarring (fibrosis) and fatty changes. Fibrosis Your fibrosis result is a measurement of the amount of scarring (fibrosis) in your liver. FibroScan measures scarring by measuring the stiffness of your liver. The fibrosis result is measured in kilopascals (kPa) It’s normally between 2 and 6 kPa. The highest possible result is 75 kPa. Many people with liver disease(s) have a result that’s higher than the normal range. Your healthcare provider will use your FibroScan fibrosis result and your medical history to determine your fibrosis score. Fibrosis score F0 to F1: No liver scarring or mild liver scarring Fibrosis score F2: Moderate liver scarring Fibrosis score F3: Severe liver scarring Fibrosis score F4: Advanced liver scarring (cirrhosis) Fatty Changes (measured as controlled attenuation parameter) Your CAP score is a measurement of fatty change in your liver. Your healthcare provider will use your CAP score to find out your steatosis grade. The CAP score is measured in decibels per meter (dB/m). It ranges from 100 to 400 dB/m.
Am I a suitable candidate for this procedure?
Liver screening test with Fibroscan is helpful for everyone, even for people who seem to be healthy and in shape.
What kind of factors can limit the accuracy of the Fibroscan?
Your fibrosis result may be over-estimated (your liver may have less scarring than what your fibrosis result says) if you have:
-Liver inflammation. This can be caused by a recent liver illness or drinking alcohol.
-Benign (not cancerous) or cancerous tumors in your liver.
-Liver congestion (when your liver is too full of blood or other fluids). This is usually caused by heart failure.
Your FibroScan results may also be less accurate if you have:
-A body mass index (BMI) higher than 30 (obesity)
-A build-up of fluid in your abdomen (ascites)
-Too little bile flowing out of your liver (biliary obstruction)
What happens if I do not have a Fibroscan?
The alternative with would be a liver biopsy which is the more invasive procedure. If you do not have the fibroscan it will be more difficult for your doctor to accurately diagnose the condition of your liver which means they may not be able to decide the best treatment for you. This could mean that eventually your liver will become seriously damaged
How will I know that I have liver damage? What are some of the symptoms?
Symptoms of liver damage can include fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, fever, itchy skin, abdominal pain, jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin), dark urine and pale stools.