Liver disease: what happens during a FibroScan?

Written by: Dr Aathavan Loganayagam
Published: | Updated: 05/12/2019
Edited by: Laura Burgess

Liver disease is a serious problem in the UK. Accurately diagnosing liver fibrosis (scarring) and inflammatory activity are the most important factors for determining the stage of the disease, assessing the patient’s prognosis and predicting treatment responses.

Here, leading London gastroenterologist Dr Aathavan Loganayagam explains everything that happens during a liver FibroScan®.


Which liver diseases can a FibroScan help to assess?

A liver scan may help to determine a wide range of diseases, including viral hepatitis B and C, fatty liver disease, drug-induced and alcohol liver injury, primary biliary cirrhosis, and autoimmune hepatitis.

What is a liver fibrosis scan?

A liver FibroScan® (ultrasound-based elastography) is a non-invasive and painless approach for assessing fibrosis in liver disease.

The use of non-invasive tests to stage the severity of liver disease (i.e. scarring) is now well established in the management of patients with chronic liver disease.

This is because the assessment of liver scarring provides prognostic information and assists in establishing treatment priorities. One such technique, shear-wave elastography, is a simple, safe and efficient way to estimate liver scarring.

When performed in the appropriate clinical setting, elastography proves to be a reliable method of detecting cirrhosis and excluding significant fibrosis, particularly when the results are supported by clinical and laboratory data.

How is the test performed?

With the patient lying supine, an ultrasound probe is placed on the skin over the liver area, which is in the right mid-axillary line. Typically, the test takes around 10 minutes to perform and causes no patient discomfort. In general, patients should have fasted for at least two hours before the procedure.

What are the indications for this test?

A fibrosis scan is principally used to estimate the degree of liver scarring present (i.e. stage of liver disease). This is very useful in the assessment of patients with chronic liver disease, including chronic hepatitis C, chronic hepatitis B, fatty liver disease and chronic alcohol abuse.

The concept is that as more fibrosis and scarring occur, the higher the liver stiffness reading will be. This reading may be used to:

  • Estimate the existing degree of liver damage.
  • Monitor disease progression or improvement via serial measurements.
  • Guide prognosis and further management, including treatment.

Do not hesitate to book an appointment with Dr Loganayagam if you would like to discuss having a liver fibrosis scan.

By Dr Aathavan Loganayagam

Dr Aathavan Loganayagam trained in medicine at Guy’s, King's and St. Thomas’ medical schools. He then underwent rigorous structured specialty training in gastroenterology and general internal medicine in the well respected South London training programme.

He then spent two years during postgraduate training as a research and endoscopy fellow at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals, London. His research was in the fields of pharmacogenetics, inflammatory bowel disease and gastrointestinal malignancy. He has received awards and grants for outstanding research work, including the prestigious NHS Innovation London Award.

Dr Loganayagam has numerous publications in peer reviewed journals on all aspects of gastroenterology. He is actively involved in clinical research. He has particular local expertise in the practice of personalised medicine and the utilisation of novel therapeutic agents in the treatment of complex inflammatory bowel disease. He is currently the lead clinician for endoscopy at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich.

Diagnostic and advanced therapeutic endoscopy remains a major part of his clinical expertise, including assessment and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, strictures, polyps and cancers.

Dr Loganayagam is an approachable doctor who takes pride in his communication skills with patients. He is keen to ensure that patients are fully informed and involved in all aspects of their care.

View Profile

Overall assessment of their patients

This website uses our own and third-party Cookies to compile information with the aim of improving our services, to show you advertising related to your preferences as well analysing your browsing habits. You can change your settings HERE.