Liver fibrosis occurs when your liver becomes full of scar tissue due to diseases such as Hepatitis C or fatty liver, and it is important to know the level of steatosis and fibrosis that has occurred to properly treat these diseases. For many years, patients have needed to undergo an invasive surgical liver biopsy to determine their level of liver fibrosis. Fortunately, with modern technology called Fibroscan, invasive biopsies are no longer necessary and simple sound waves can be used to determine the level of fibrosis.
FibroScan® is an FDA cleared and proven technology used for non-invasive examinations of your liver. FibroScan® works by emitting a small pulse of energy, called a shear wave, which will feel like a light tap on your skin. FibroScan® then calculates the speed of this energy as it travels through your liver and translates that speed with two scores that your care provider will use to determine the overall health of your liver. The first score is a measure of your liver’s stiffness, the second score approximates liver fat. The combination of these scores gives your health care provider a better understanding of your liver’s overall health and how it changes over time with lifestyle or medical intervention.
The FibroScan® examination is painless, quick and easy. During measurement, you feel a slight vibration on the skin at the tip of the probe.
The procedure usually takes about 5 minutes. Your entire appointment will last about 30 minutes. For the procedure, you will lie on your back with your right arm raised behind your head and your right abdominal area exposed. The healthcare provider will obtain a minimum of 10 quick measurements during your examination.
Your physician may recommend a FibroScan® test if you have one of the following chronic liver conditions:
FibroScan® is covered by most insurance providers for approved indications. The exam is also available at a low cost self pay rate of $69.
The three most common processes that damage the liver are fatty liver disease, alcohol, and hepatitis B and C. Fatty liver, or Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), is a term used to describe an accumulation of fat in the liver.
NAFLD is usually seen in people who are overweight or obese, however it has been found in people of a normal weight whose diets are very high in fat and/or sugar content. A healthy liver should contain little or no fat.
If fat has been in the liver for a prolonged amount of time, the liver cells can become inflamed and the term NASH (Non Alcoholic Steato-Hepatitis) is then used. NASH may progress, like many liver diseases, to cirrhosis and liver cancer.
There are 3 grades of Fatty Liver: S1 (mild), S2 (moderate), S3 (severe). For S1-S3, your doctor may recommend the following :