There is a less invasive and, in some cases , more effective technique than biopsy for detecting liver problems . We’re talking about a liver elastography exam . Among the types of machines that perform this exam, the most well-known and with the greatest evidence of good scientific results is Fibroscan . Have you heard of him?
This procedure quick, painless and poses no risk to the patient, helps diagnose many liver problems, such as fibrosis and steatosis. This is what we will talk about in this article.
Read on for more details on Fibroscan. See how this exam works, what are its main indications and find out if you need any special preparation for its performance.
Do you know what cirrhosis is? Find out here!
What is fibroscan and how does it work?
Fibroscan is one of the ways in which the hepatic elastography test is known . As its name indicates, it is performed in order to diagnose problems that affect the liver , especially liver fibrosis .
This procedure does not involve cuts or perforations , even so, it has an efficiency very comparable to that of a liver biopsy . The diagnosis it provides is recognized as one of the safest and most accurate , with the great advantage of being carried out in a practical way , without the need for hospital use, anesthesia and without causing pain. The exam takes a short time , about 5 to 15 minutes only.
In practice, the Fibroscan exam is very reminiscent of an ultrasound . To perform it, the patient must remain lying down , the professional applies a gel and slides a small probe over the individual’s abdomen , in order to obtain the parameters of fibrosis and organ fat .
The device emits a low-frequency vibration that spreads through the tissues and reaches the liver. This speed is measured in kilopascals (kpas) and the possible result is 1.5 to 75 kpas, and extreme results may indicate the presence of cirrhosis.
What are Fibroscan indications?
Fibroscan works by measuring the hardening of liver tissues . When he has fibrosis, there is a tendency to get harder because this problem is characterized by the formation of scars suffered by the organ . So, the more fibrous tissue the more hurt the organ is.
Fibroscan has indications for all liver diseases , which, if persistent, can lead to fibrosis and in extreme cases, cirrhosis. In our country, steatosis (liver fat), alcohol abuse and viral hepatitis are the most common liver diseases . People with these diseases could benefit from the Fibroscan test.
But this procedure is also widely used to monitor pre-existing problems . This is the case of hepatitis B and C, which need to be investigated constantly to make a comparison with previous results. The great benefit for the patient is obtaining data that help in the care of the disease without the need for biopsy, which requires anesthesia, observation time in a clinical-hospital unit, generating discomfort and pain for the patient and a possible risk of bleeding.
How is the preparation for the Fibroscan exam done?
As explained, the Fibroscan test is completely painless and not at all invasive , so it does not require any special patient preparation . A short fast is recommended according to the examiner’s preference.
It is very important that the examining doctor has access to previous exams if the client’s problem is being examined.
Learn more about the myths and truths of the digestive system by clicking here!
In addition to all these advantages of realizing Fibroscan, results are issued very quickly . After all, the data is transmitted directly to a monitor, so the patient can already have his exam ready at the end of the procedure. All of this speeds up care and the start of treatment, if necessary.