FibroScan, also known as transient elastography, is a non-invasive medical procedure used to assess the degree of liver fibrosis and the presence of liver stiffness. It is a diagnostic tool that measures the elasticity or stiffness of the liver by using ultrasound technology.

During a FibroScan procedure, the patient lies on their back with the right arm raised. A handheld device, which includes an ultrasound probe, is placed on the skin over the liver area. The device generates a low-frequency vibration that creates a shear wave, which propagates through the liver. The speed of this wave is directly related to the liver’s stiffness, with stiffer livers typically indicating the presence of fibrosis or scarring.

The FibroScan device measures the speed of the shear wave and calculates a numerical value called the liver stiffness measurement (LSM), which is expressed in kilopascals (kPa). A higher LSM indicates increased liver stiffness and potentially more advanced fibrosis.

FibroScan is particularly useful in assessing liver fibrosis in patients with chronic liver diseases, such as hepatitis B or C, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and alcoholic liver disease. It provides a non-invasive alternative to liver biopsy, which is an invasive procedure that involves the extraction of a tissue sample for microscopic examination.

FibroScan is generally well-tolerated and does not require any specific preparation or recovery time. The procedure is quick, taking only a few minutes to perform, and it does not involve any pain. It provides immediate results, allowing healthcare professionals to assess the degree of liver fibrosis and guide treatment decisions accordingly.

It’s important to note that while FibroScan is a valuable diagnostic tool, it may not be suitable for everyone. Certain factors, such as obesity or ascites (fluid accumulation in the abdomen), can affect the accuracy of the measurements. Therefore, it is best to consult with a healthcare professional to determine if FibroScan is appropriate for your specific situation and to interpret the results correctly.