FibroScan is a non-invasive procedure recently approved by the FDA to determine the extent of liver scarring or fibrosis caused due to several types of liver diseases. It is quite similar to conventional liver ultrasound, but it is quick, painless, easy and offers a detailed non-surgical alternative to the traditional liver biopsy to evaluate liver damage.

The healthcare provider recommends a FibroScan to help diagnose and monitor the progression of diseases affecting the liver and if a person has one of the following chronic liver conditions:

Autoimmune Hepatitis


Genetic Diseases such as Hemochromatosis and Wilson’s Disease

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis C

Alcoholic Liver Disease

Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)

How Is Fibroscan Different From A Traditional Biopsy?

This is a newer technique designed to evaluate fatty liver disease using a specific ultrasound- based machine to check scarring and fat build-up called fatty change in the liver. As it’s a non-invasive procedure the risks are minimal when compared with an invasive biopsy.

Also Read: Fatty Liver: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

How To Prepare For The Test?

A FibroScan doesn’t need any special preparation, but a patient may be asked not to eat or drink for at least 3 hours before the scan and take only clear fluids during that time.

Wear loose-fitting clothing to allow the technician to examine the abdomen.

The patient has to lie on the back with the right arm raised behind the head and the right abdominal region exposed.

The technician will apply a water-based gel to the skin and then place a non-invasive probe over the liver.

A slight vibration is felt during the examination on the skin at the tip of the probe as it carries ultrasound waves to the region for assessment.

It is completely painless, so sedation is not needed and takes only a few minutes to complete. After the test, the patient can carry out regular activities with no special instructions.

How Does FibroScan Help for Fatty Liver?

The accumulation of fat cells in fatty liver disease causes scarring, called fibrosis. One way of assessing the severity of this condition is to evaluate the fibrosis present in the liver. Fibrosis causes stiffness in the liver tissues.

FibroScan, also called transient elastography, measure the speed of ultrasound waves as they move via the liver. The ultrasound waves travel at different speeds via normal liver tissue and regions of fibrosis. This test is a way to gauge the health of the liver and analysis the stage of liver disease. It measures the liver stiffness that indicated whether scarring is present or not and indicate the extent of the scarring.

Scarring of the liver in the starting stages is called fibrosis and more severe scarring is cirrhosis. This scan uses scarring readings to give a proper diagnosis and to track the progression of liver disease.

Also Read: Liver Function Tests: Know The Types, How It Is Done And What To Expect

What Does FibroScan Result mean?

The FibroScan test result will provide with:

Cap Score:

The amount of liver with fatty change is measured by CAP score in decibels per meter(dB/m) that corresponds to the stages of steatosis- S1, S2, or S3. The lower the percentage of the liver with fatty change indicates that your liver is healthier. A CAP score of 5% or lower indicates a healthy liver, while a CAP score of 5 % to 33 % with a steatosis grade S1 means a mild fatty liver and higher than that indicate moderate to severe fat content in the liver and more damage.

Fibrosis Score:

Fibrosis score is the amount of scarring in the liver measured in kilopascals (kPa), which give a fibrosis score. The lower the score, the less scarring on the liver and indicates the liver is healthy. A normal result value is between 2 and 6 kPa. A fibrosis score of F0 to F1 indicates no liver scarring, while a score of F4 indicates advanced liver scarring or cirrhosis.