FibroScan® Frequently Asked Questions
How is a FibroScan® examination performed?
You lie on your back, with your right arm raised behind your head. The operator applies a water-based gel to the skin and positions the probe adjacent to your liver. The operator then scans your liver to capture 10 meaningful measurements made at the same location. The result is delivered at the end of the examination as a number in “kilopascals” (kPa). Your doctor will interpret the result in conjunction with other information from your overall examination
Will I be comfortable?
Yes. The exam is painless and non-invasive. During measurement, you feel a slight vibration on the skin at the tip of the probe. It’s also easy and fast, usually taking 5 to 10 minutes.
How long does it take to see results and what do the results mean?
FibroScan® provides immediate results to the operator. Your physician then interprets the result according to your history and underlying disease.
What is the liver? What does it do in the body?
The liver is the largest solid organ in the body, about the size of a football, weighing three to four pounds. The liver serves as the body’s filter and warehouse, with more than 1.5 quarts of blood pumping through it every minute. This allows the liver to effectively remove toxins and waste products from the bloodstream. It also acts as a warehouse to hold onto substances like vitamins, minerals and glucose that the body will need later. The liver helps to manage cholesterol, hormones and sugar. It also regulates fat storage and blood clotting factors.
Why have a FibroScan® exam?
A FibroScan® can help you and your health care provider understand your liver status and, when needed, create a care plan to support this vital organ.
What are some things that can harm the liver?
- Medications – Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is usually well tolerated at prescribed doses, but overdose is the most common cause of drug-induced liver disease and acute liver failure worldwide.
- Some Herbal and Alternative Remedies – Blue-green algae, borage, bupleurum, chapparal, confrey, dong quai, germander, jun bu hua, kava mistletoe, pennyroyal, sassafras, shark cartilage, skullcap and valerian.
- Infections that Affect the Liver – Inflammation of the liver (Hepatitis). Common causes are the Hepatitis A, B and C viruses.
- Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver disease – Fatty liver disease affects approximately 20 percent of the population worldwide and is commonly seen in people with diabetes and obesity. People with fatty liver disease may progressively damage their liver to an extent that requires a liver transplant.
- Abuse of Alcohol – This most common cause of cirrhosis in the Western world represents one of the 10 most common causes of death.
If the liver sustains damage from any cause, normal liver tissue can become:
- Fatty (steatosis)
- Fibrous (fibrosis)
- Scarred (cirrhosis)
What are some symptoms of liver damage?
Symptoms of liver damage can include fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, fever, itchy skin, abdominal pain, jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin), dark urine and pale stools.