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Liver Biopsy Alternatives

What is fibroscan?

FibroScan is a non-invasive diagnostic device is used to measure liver scarring, or fibrosis, caused by a number of liver diseases. Similar to undergoing a conventional liver ultrasound exam, outpatient FibroScan testing is quick, painless and easy, and provides a non-surgical alternative to the traditional liver biopsy to assess liver damage.

FibroScan works by emitting a small pulse of energy, which may feel as a slight vibration on your skin. FibroScan calculates the speed of this energy to give physicians an immediate measure of the stiffness of your liver. This stiffness measure can be an important part of understanding overall liver health.

The FibroScan examination is covered by most insurance plans.

Who is a candidate for fibroscan?

Patients may benefit from FibroScan if they one of the following chronic liver conditions:

  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Alcoholic liver disease
  • Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
  • Autoimmune hepatitis
  • Genetic diseases such as hemochromatosis and Wilson’s disease
  • Cirrhosis

Fibroscan probes are adapted to most body-type patients and to all ages, from pediatric patients to adults. FibroScan should not be used if you are pregnant or have any implantable electronic devices.

What is a fibroscan examination like?

You lie on your back with your right arm raised behind your head. A physician applies a water-based gel to your skin, and then places the probe on the right side of your ribcage. The physicians makes 10 quick measurements during the course of the FibroScan examination. These measurements are used to establish an overall stiffness score.

How should I prepare for my fibroscan examination?

  • It is important to have your FibroScan examination on an empty stomach, so don’t eat anything for at least three hours prior to your examination.
  • Wear comfortable clothes that will allow your healthcare provider to expose the right side of your rib cage.

To learn more, please contact the Tulane Transplant Institute at 504.988.5344.