Fibroscan liver elastography: What is its function and how does the procedure work?

When liver disease is suspected, such as hepatitis, cirrhosis and steatosis, blood tests are commonly ordered by doctors to assess liver conditions. However, research often also requires an assessment of the possible presence of scarring in the liver , which indicates more severe damage over time, a condition known technically as fibrosis. For this, it is recommended to perform a liver biopsy, an examination that requires removing a small piece of the liver with a needle. More recently, new technologies have been developed that canaccurately estimate the presence and amount of fibrosis without a biopsy, procedures such as hepatic elastography. Elastography is a new technology that measures how rigid, hardened or firm the organ under study is. In the liver, the more damage, the greater the amount of scarring, the more hard the organ gets.

There are several types of elastography, and Fibroscan hepatic elastography is the best known, most accurate method and has the greatest amount of scientific evidence of its efficiency for the study of liver diseases.

The liver elastography by Fibroscan is a very simple test, quick and painless, presenting a great effectiveness to monitor the health of the liver, as well as get diagnosis of liver problems.

As for many people it is still a novelty, we have prepared this article to explain what liver elastography is, what the function of this procedure is and how it is performed, in addition to the advantages it presents in patient care. Keep reading!

Find out how liver biopsy is done in more detail by clicking here!

About Fibroscan liver elastography

As explained above, several problems can affect the liver causing damage that leads to liver fibrosis . The fibrosis will lead to a loss of function of this organ gradually to no longer meet the person ‘s body needs.

The liver fibrosis is characterized by the formation of scar tissue (small or “mini” microscopic scarring) due to the aggression suffered by the liver. That is, when this organ suffers some type of injury or damage, healthy cells are eliminated and the liver produces tissue that does not perform its normal functions. Thus, it stops working little by little.

The liver elastography by Fibroscan is the test that professionals use to assess the stage of liver fibrosis. With this procedure , he is able to visualize the entire structure of the liver without the need to make cuts or use needles. Through it it is possible to follow several problems such as:

  • cirrhosis;
  • hepatitis;
  • liver fat (fatty liver);
  • Wilson’s disease;
  • hemochromatosis;
  • primary sclerosing cholangitis.

The patients with these problems, they need to do constant monitoring with the doctor can perform liver elastography by Fibroscan to check the condition of your liver without need to undergo invasive procedures.

How Fibroscan liver elastography is performed

As explained, Fibroscan liver elastography is a very quick and very simple procedure. It only takes about 5 to 10 minutes to perform the exam, and its execution is very similar to that of an ultrasound.

The patient remains lying with the abdomen facing up , a gel is applied to the liver region (below the rib on the right side) and the examining doctor slides the device over the skin to capture images of the organ. No special preparation is necessary and the patient does not need sedation or anesthesia, because the procedure is completely painless.

The advantages and benefits of liver elastography

The liver elastography by Fibroscan is used, therefore, to accompany the picture of a patient, but it is also requested to assess the success of a treatment, making sure that there was an improvement or a worsening of the tissue. Thus, it contributes to the physician’s decision making.

In some cases, it is possible to replace conventional biopsy with hepatic elastography with Fibroscan. In the first technique, it is necessary to use a puncture needle, or make cuts to obtain a piece of the liver, which will be sent for laboratory analysis. This is an invasive procedure and, therefore, can bring complications such as pain at the site, hematoma and hemorrhage.

In many cases the doctor is able to obtain the necessary information from the liver to analyze its conditions without the need for this tissue collection. In other words, it is possible to issue a diagnosis in a much more comfortable, painless and safe way for the patient using Fibroscan liver elastography.

Find out how the treatment of fatty liver works by clicking here!

Therefore, if you need to monitor liver problems or will need to undergo a biopsy, it is interesting to talk to your doctor about the possibility of using Fibroscan liver elastography. That way you can take care of your health in a much more comfortable way and with less risk of complications.


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