Fibroscan or Transient Elastography

August 29, 2021


Fibroscan uses ultrasound technology to determine the status of the liver, qualitative assessment of hepatic fat content and degree of fibrosis or scarring. It is non invasive, fast and reliable. The diseases affecting liver generally cause inflammation of liver damaging liver tissue. The liver tries to repair itself leading to progressive fibrosis (scarring) and cirrhosis. Knowing the degree of fibrosis is important not only for diagnosis but also for staging, prognosis and management. In cases of steatosis or mild fibrosis changes in diet and lifestyle can reverse the damage. Many patients remain asymptomatic and are unaware of the liver problem until the disease is advanced and difficult to manage. Fibroscan helps to recognize the problem early in the course of disease.


There is another way to see liver condition by doing liver biopsy. Liver biopsy is an invasive technique in which a small piece of liver tissue is removed under local anesthesia by puncturing abdominal wall or through (trans jugular venous biopsy) right internal jugular vein. Liver biopsy is useful but it needs a specialist care setting and expertise so unsuitable for screening large number of people. The technique is generally safe but complications may arise in 2% of patients such as intra-abdominal hemorrhage, pneumothorax, hemothorax, biliary peritonitis or liver injury. Complications if any, usually are evident within 3-4 hours after the biopsy specimen is collected. In some cases it is necessary to perform liver biopsy as no imaging modality can distinguish between simple fatty liver or hepatitis or accurately quantify the extent of hepatic fibrosis.


Indications of Fibroscan

  • Chronic viral hepatitis due to HBV, HBC.
  • Alcoholic liver disease.
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases.
  • Metabolic syndrome.
  • Before and after liver transplant.
  • Autoimmune hepatitis.
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis.

As fibroscan uses high frequency sound waves to visualize the internal body tissues so patients are advised to avoid meals for a minimum of 2 hours before the scan for better visibility and reliable results. Sips of water or any usual medicine can be taken.


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