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FibroScan (also called transient elastography) is an examination to assess the stiffness of your liver. This is a non-invasive (no needles) procedure, that is quick, painless, and gives an immediate result.

This procedure allows your doctor to check the amount of scarring (fibrosis) that is present in your liver. It is often used instead of a liver biopsy.

What happens during a FibroScan examination?

Patient having a FibroScan

  1. You lie on your back, with your right arm raised behind your head.
  2. The person performing the procedure will apply a water-based gel to your skin. They will place the FibroScan probe on your skin with a slight pressure.
  3. The FibroScan probe takes a measurement of your liver stiffness. You will feel a slight vibration on your skin as the measurement is taken.
  4. Ten consecutive measurements are made at the same place on your body.
  5. At the end of the examination, your doctor is given your result. This result is a number, which can vary from 1.5 to 75 kPa.

What happens after the procedure?

Your doctor will interpret the results, according to your record and your disease.

The FibroScan result helps your doctor to assess how likely it is that you will have liver complications. It also often assists with decisions about the timing of any hepatitis treatments.

In some cases, for example, if you have severe fibrosis (cirrhosis), your doctor may recommend you have regular ultrasound scans.

Written by the Gastroenterology Department, Christchurch Hospital.Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed September 2016.

Page reference: 51999

Review key: HILIV-52878