What is FibroScan® ?
Examination with FibroScan®, also called transient elastography, is a technique used to assess liver stiffness (measured in kPa correlated to fibrosis) without invasive investigation. The result is immediate, it shows the condition of the liver and allows physicians to diagnose and monitor disease evolution in conjunction with treatment and collateral factors. The FibroScan® examination is painless, quick and easy. During measurement, you feel a slight vibration on the skin at the tip of the probe.
What does the FibroScan® examination consist of ?
- You lie on your back, with your right arm raised behind your head. Physician applies a waterbased gel to the skin and places the probe with a slight pressure
- The examination includes 10 consecutive measurements made at the same location
- The result is delivered at the end of the examination, it’s a number which can vary from 1.5 to 75 kPa. Your doctor will interpret the result
What does the result mean ?
Your physician interprets the result according to your history and underlying disease.
Who can prescribe the FibroScan® examination ?
Your physician or hepatologist will indicate the most appropriate time for you to have the examination.
What difference does FibroScan® make to me ?
- Fibroscan® provides immediate results, it’s easy and fast (5-10 minutes)
- The exam is painless and noninvasive
- In case of close followup, the examination can be safely repeated
What are liver fibrosis and steatosis?
Chronic liver diseases affect the liver tissue in various ways: fibrosis and steatosis.
Any chronic attack on the liver will cause inflammation, which then leads to the formation of fibrous scar tissue in the liver, creating hepatic fibrosis. This fibrosis is therefore a scarring process that will replace damaged liver cells. The extent of this fibrosis can vary, and it is described in several stages. A normal liver is at a stage between F0 and F1. Stage F2 denotes light fibrosis, and F3 is severe fibrosis. 'Cirrhosis' is defined from stage F4, when scar tissue exists throughout the liver.
Fibrosis is reversible if the cause of the disease is treated and if the lesions are not too severe. The liver can then resume a normal structure. The degree of fibrosis therefore constitutes an important prognostic parameter. The extent of the fibrosis is one factor affecting the diagnosis and decisions concerning therapy, and a criterion for tracking the progress of the illness and the effectiveness of therapy.
Liver steatosis is an accumulation of fat in the liver, making a 'fatty liver'. It corresponds to the accumulation of lipids (triglycerides) in the liver cells (hepatocytes) and may complicate alcoholic intoxication or metabolic disorders such as Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and dyslipemia. Such steatosis can either be isolated, making it a pure steatosis, or associated with hepatitis, which makes it nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Steatosis and NASH form nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). These are usually asymptomatic conditions, but they are currently becoming more common because of the increasing number of overweight patients.