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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's quick, painless and gives an immediate result.

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

During a FibroScan examination

Patient having a FibroScan

You shouldn't eat or drink for two hours before the examination as this may affect the result.

  1. During the examination, you'll 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'll place the FibroScan probe on your skin with a slight pressure.
  3. The FibroScan probe takes a measurement of your liver stiffness. You'll feel a slight vibration on your skin as the measurement is taken.
  4. Approximately 10 measurements will be made at the same place on your body.
  5. At the end of the examination, your doctor will be given your result. This result is a number, which can vary from 1.5 to 75 kPa.

After the procedure

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

The FibroScan result helps assess how likely it is that you'll have liver complications. It also often helps 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. Last updated February 2019.

Page reference: 51999

Review key: HILIV-52878