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Fibroscan - A New And Simple Method For Liver Biopsy

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Fibroscan - A New And Simple Method For Liver Biopsy

Gastro Science | Posted on 05/12/2020 by Dr. Anil Kumar Jangid



Do you have a fatty liver? If yes, then chances are your doctor might recommend elastography also known as Fibroscan. It is a kind of liver elastography and an ultrasound technology that helps in measuring the stiffness of a liver and changes in the fat in the liver. With fibroscan, it becomes easier for the doctor to understand more about your liver disease. If you are unaware of the concept of fibroscan, then make sure to read this blog. We will discuss everything in detail that’s related to fibro scan liver. However, note that it is for informative purposes only and doesn’t rule out consulting a doctor.

What is a fibroscan?

Fibroscan is a device and non-invasive procedure approved by the FDA recently for determining the liver scarring extent or fibrosis that occurred because of several liver illnesses. It is just like conventional liver ultrasound, however, is fast, easy, and painless, and delivers a comprehensive non-surgical substitute to the traditional liver biopsy for evaluating liver damage. 

If your doctor suspects liver disease, then chances are fibroscan is recommended as it assists them to assess the liver health and determine liver fibrosis indicating the extent and existence of the liver disease or damage. Fibroscan involves using the latest and advanced technology known as transient elastography for measuring the stiffness of a liver.

Why would you need a fibroscan test?

A Fibro scan test is recommended by a doctor when he/she suspects that certain diseases are affecting the liver. Here is why there is a need of a fibro scan test:

  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver illness 
  • Alcoholic liver disease 
  • Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
  • Viral infection
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Autoimmune Hepatitis
  • Cirrhosis
  • Genetic Diseases such as Wilson’s Disease
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C

How to be prepared for the fibroscan test?

The Fibro scan liver test is completely direct and simple. The doctor asks to fast for around three hours prior to the liver fibrosis test. The doctor further asks the patient to only consume clear fluids during that time. It is recommended to wear comfortable clothes like loose dresses, or shirts. It allows the patient to move around or reposition while the nurse assesses the right upper abdomen. It is highly suggested not to wear tight clothing outfits during the procedure. The doctor further might ask the patient to rest on the bed for a few minutes before initiating the test. It is so that measurements can be taken while the body is resting.

What are the conditions affecting the fibroscan test results?

There are many conditions that involve causing stiffness in the liver and hence affect the test results displaying it to be very high, which is not right. There are chances of less scarring than the tests result recommend and it occurs when the patient has the following conditions:

  • Liver inflammation- It occurs because of current liver disease and is an outcome of long-term use of heavy alcohol for a long time. 
  • Benign or cancerous tumors in the liver 
  • Liver congestion- It implies that the patient’s liver is filled with blood and other fluids. It is an outcome of heart failure.

Fibroscan also involves giving correct results or no results if the patient has:

  • obesity - It implies that the body mass index of a patient is above 30 which is an unhealthy fat amount.
  • Ascites- Fluid is accumulated in the belly.
  • Biliary obstruction- There is an obstruction causing issues while bile is flowing out of the liver.
  • Scar tissues- Tissue from surgery or surgery accumulated near the liver.

How long does the liver biopsy procedure or liver elastography take? Is fibroscan painful?

No, fibroscan is not painful at all as it is a non-invasive procedure. There is no requirement of sedation. If the patient has experienced ultrasound before, then it is quite similar to the ultrasound. The patient is asked to lie on his/her back with the right arm above the head, to gain access to the right rib cage as it allows the doctor liver scanning. 

Further, the gel is applied to the area and placing of a fibroscan liver device on this skin between the ribs is initiated. There might be a vibration as the device involves sending energy pulses to the liver for gathering measurements. It is a painless technology and would require only five to ten minutes for the procedure to be completed. 

What Does FibroScan Result in Mean?

Here is how to interpret the fibroscan test results:

Cap Score- CAP score is a way to measure the amount of liver with fatty change in decibels per meter (dB/m) corresponding to the steatosis stage- S1, S2, or S3. The lower percentage is an indication that the liver is healthy. A CAP score should be less than 5% for a healthy liver. Above this range, the liver is considered to be fatty and damaged 

Fibrosis Score- A fibrosis score is a scarring amount in the liver. It is measured in kilopascals (kPa)which ensures a correct fibrosis score. The lower score indicates that the liver is healthy whereas a normal test is i.e. between 2 and 6 kPa. If the score is above 4, then it is an indication of liver cirrhosis.

Conclusion 

Fibroscan is the latest technological advancement in the medical field. If you are diagnosed with liver illness, your doctor might recommend a fibroscan liver test. If the fear of a liver biopsy is stopping you from moving forward with the test for a fatty liver, then consult the doctor. With a fibroscan, your doctor will take care of everything. This test is non-invasive, fast, and painless which can help your doctor to understand your condition comprehensively. People with fatty liver must not delay their appointment and must consult a specialist about fibroscan tests. If you are looking for a healthcare service, then reach out to Rukmani Birla Hospital, the multispeciality hospital in Jaipur. It has integrated the most talented and highly experienced healthcare professionals. 

FAQs

Why would I need a fibroscan?

A fibroscan is needed to identify the disease related to liver 

Can fibroscan detect cirrhosis?

Yes, fibroscan can detect cirrhosis 

Can you eat before a fibroscan?

You can eat before the fibroscan but make sure to do this 3 hours before the test 

Can I drink water before the fibroscan?

You can drink water 3 hours before the test 

Can fibroscan detect liver cancer?

Yes, fibroscan can detect liver cancer