What Is FibroScan® Used for and How Does It Help?
In past years, the primary way to identify the state of the liver was through a liver biopsy. Because of the progression in medical technology, providers can now assess the health of a patient's liver through a relatively simple, nonsurgical ultrasound exam called FibroScan. At Washington Gastroenterology, our GI team performs this quick and effective exam to test liver health and help patients maintain their overall wellness. To learn more about FibroScan testing and how it might help evaluate the health of your liver, reach out to one of our Washington state locations near you.
What is the FibroScan exam?
The FibroScan exam is a liver elastography procedure that relies on ultrasound technology to establish liver damage. This simple test can discover scarring and stiffness of the liver. Liver scarring, or liver fibrosis, may arise due to heavy alcohol consumption, a high-fat diet, being medically obese, type 2 diabetes, and other factors. Liver scarring may result in cirrhosis, which is significant scarring and damage to the liver. Later stages of cirrhosis might lead to unintended weight loss, yellowing of the skin and eyes, fatigue, cancer in the liver, and eventually liver failure.
Where a biopsy of the liver would require some sort of sedation, an invasive procedure, and a few hours of time, FibroScan is completed in around ten minutes. The process is generally comfortable, and you can return to your normal daily routine once it is finished.
Why is the FibroScan test invaluable?
Due to the concerns affiliated with damage to the liver, it is vital to take the health of this organ seriously. That is where FibroScan comes in. After completing the FibroScan exam, our Washington GI specialists can utilize the findings to confirm and track a variety of liver issues, such as:
- Hepatitis B or C
- NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis)
- Alcohol-related liver diseases
- NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease)
FibroScan also aids us in evaluating the degree to which liver damage has progressed. This information can then be used to develop a treatment regimen specifically for your needs.
How long does it take to receive FibroScan test results?
An additional bonus of FibroScan is that the results are available within a day or two. With a liver biopsy, it might take around two weeks to receive the results. FibroScan can produce exam results sooner than alternative testing, which might allow you to start any treatment earlier.
Once we have your FibroScan results, a team member will call you or schedule an appointment to review them. Our providers will review the test outcomes and explain what they mean for your liver and general health.
Is it possible to reverse liver damage?
If your test results imply liver damage, you may be able to either reverse it or prevent new damage from occurring. Some of the steps you can take to enhance the health of your liver include:
- Cut back on alcohol use
- Exercise daily
- Eat a diet high in fiber and low in fat
- Work with your doctor to change medications as needed
- Lose weight if you are overweight
Schedule a FibroScan in Washington
One of the best ways to help prevent medical issues is to take control of your overall health. By receiving innovative and efficient tests like FibroScan, you can come to understand your liver health and possibly make necessary changes before further damage occurs. At Washington Gastroenterology, our GI specialists are pleased to provide this cutting-edge liver biopsy alternative. Request an appointment at one of our Washington locations to learn more about how FibroScan works.