What is a Fibroscan?
Fibroscan is a quick, painless and non-invasive modality to measure elasticity of liver tissue (or liver scarring), which is referred to as fibrosis. Owing its simplicity, it is an ideal tool to assess liver damage, which can be performed at the time of a consultation and the results are available instantaneously. Moreover, because it is a non-invasive assessment, it can be performed repeatedly to evaluate changes in a patient's liver over time, be that changes in liver scarring or liver fat. Fibroscan technology ensures accurate assessment of liver fibrosis resulting from various pathologies that cause damage to the liver, including excess alcohol consumption, viral hepatitis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and iron overload.
Professor Patrick Kennedy Performing A Fibroscan
At the Hospital of St John & St Elizabeth, Professor Patrick Kennedy provides an introduction to how a Fibroscan is performed and what the results can tell us.
Professor Patrick Kennedy Featured On BBC's 'Drinkers Like Me'
In the below video Professor Patrick Kennedy meets with BBC Presenter Adrian Chiles to discuss how his drinking may have impacted his liver health. He reviews Adrian's blood results and performs a Fibroscan to to reveal the extent of the damage.
The Liver & Fibroscan
The liver is a large organ weighing around 3lbs that is located in the top right part of the abdomen. The liver’s function includes: storing glycogen (fuel for the body) helping to filter blood from the digestive tract before passing it to other areas of the body. The liver also processes fats and proteins from digested food as well as producing proteins that are needed for blood to clot. Finally, the liver processes any medicines that you may be making, working to remove toxins and poisons from the body as well as producing bile.
What are the benefits of Fibroscan?
The modern Fibroscan technology provides a wealth of benefits to patients. Fibroscan is an important test as in many cases there are no obvious signs of moderate or even severe liver disease. For a painless 10 minute investigation to provide such critical information regarding liver health is a major benefit and and development in modern liver medicine and allows patients a quick and fully transparent result.
Key Benefits of Fibroscan
- Completely painless examination
- Instant access to a numerical result
- Proven effective liver evaluation
- Patient can leave as soon as the procedure is over
- Very easy procedure to undertake
- No local or general anaesthetic required
How long is a Fibroscan?
A fibroscan is a quick and painless procedure usually lasting no longer than 10-20 minutes. It is carried out as an outpatient procedure and patients are able to go home the same. The liver scan will highlight any potential liver damage or disease ending any unwarranted concern your lifestyle may have impacted on your health.
What happens during a Fibroscan?
The Examination Process
You will lie flat on an examination table a nurse or consultant will place a probe at the skin’s surface and trigger the probe to start.
A fibroscan score is recorded as a numerical value. The stiffer the liver, the higher the numerical value will be. How stiff the liver is, is an indicator of damage to the liver that can be associated with a variety of causes. To ensure it is an effective result ten valid records must be undertaken.
Getting Your Score
A fibroscan score is a numerical result between 2-75. A ‘normal’ Fibroscan range tends to be between 2-7 with an average result being roughly around 5. Scarring of the liver is measured by four stages.
- F0 = no scarring
- F1 = mild fibrosis
- F2 = moderate fibrosis
- F3 = severe fibrosis
- F4 = cirrhosis or advanced fibrosis
After each test your Consultant will run through the results with you and discuss any follow up treatment that may be required.