Everything You Need to Know About FibroScan
A FibroScan is a quick and painless non-invasive scan, which can be used to measure and track changes in your liver health.
This simple ten minute scan will spot any potential damage or disease and give you a readout of any liver damage and your liver fat levels. This means you will leave your appointment with all the information you need about your liver, and if needed, guidance for how to live the healthiest lifestyle possible.
At our hospital, uniquely, your scan will be performed by a specialist consultant rather than a technician, so you will receive the added benefit of expert knowledge and advice following the scan, as well as your results straight away.
Why have a FibroScan?
Deaths from liver disease in the UK are rising. Drinking alcohol, being overweight and viral hepatitis (which can be caught from contaminated food, water or blood), can all damage your liver.
The liver is a tough organ and can withstand years of damage by repairing itself and protecting the rest of your body. Unfortunately, the liver is also unable to signal real distress until it has entered the final stages of liver failure. This means that by the time you start experiencing symptoms, the damage may be irreversible.
Quick, simple and risk-free, a FibroScan can identify early signs of liver damage that would otherwise go unnoticed, so you can reverse it.
FibroScan is for everyone, whether you’re worried your lifestyle might be having a negative impact on your health or you just want to have a routine scan to stay on top of your liver health. If you have other conditions, such as high blood pressure; diabetes, which can affect the amount of fat stored in your liver; or colitis, which can predispose you to liver disease, having a FibroScan can be a very useful test and help you manage your health simply and effectively. You don’t need a GP to refer you, so if you’d like a scan, simply give us a call and we’ll book you in.
Preparing for your scan
- Keep taking any medications.
- Do not eat or drink anything for at least three hours beforehand. You can drink small sips of water or clear fluid but don’t drink large amounts.
- You won’t need to take any clothes off for the scan. However, the doctor will need to examine and scan your tummy, so it’s best to wear top and bottoms rather than a dress.
- You won’t need to take off any jewelry, such as belly bars, for this scan.
On the day of your scan
When you arrive at the hospital, you will need to make your way to our Outpatients Department. Here, you’ll be signed in by our reception team and then you’ll head to the waiting room. When it’s time to see your consultant, one of our nurses will call you and take you to your room.
Your consultant will talk you through the scan and explain how it works. You can then ask any questions, and once you’re comfortable, the scan can start. This will take place in the same room as your consultation.
For the scan, you’ll lie on your back on a couch and raise your right arm above your head.
The doctor will feel your tummy to find the right area to place the probe. The probe is a small hand-held device that sends out sound waves in pulses. These pass through your skin to your liver and bounce back, and feel like a gentle flick against the side of your skin. It should not hurt.
The FibroScan measures the time it takes for a sound wave to bounce back. This is repeated at least 10 times so we can get an accurate result. The scanner then calculates the average reading.
The scan will take no longer than 10 minutes.
Your results will be ready straight away, so after your scan, your doctor will discuss these with you and create a management plan straight away. This will save you another trip to hospital and you’ll leave the appointment knowing exactly what your next steps are.
If your scan shows a healthy liver, there’ll be nothing for you to do, other than keep up the good work, stay on top of your healthy lifestyle and keep your alcohol intake to a minimum! If you’d like, you can have another scan at any time to monitor progress, such as in 12 months in or in a couple of years’ time.
If the scan shows high amounts of liver fat but low stiffness, your doctor will give you a plan based around lifestyle changes. This could include drinking less, being more active, and losing weight.
If your scan shows that you have liver damage, the next steps will be to investigate further and have more tests. Your doctor will then create a tailored medical management plan for you.
If you’re paying for a FibroScan yourself, it will cost £595 *
*price correct as of April 2023. Prices are subject to change. Please call us for more information and to request a quote.
Most insurance companies will cover a FibroScan. Before booking, please get in touch with your provider to request a treatment authorisation code.
Top tips for a healthy liver
- Stay active and incorporate exercise into your routine
- Cut down on your alcohol intake – this is a must for a healthy liver!
- If you’re overweight, try to lose weight. The NHS healthy weight calculator is a useful guide.
- If you’ve never had one, consider getting a hepatitis vaccine
- Have routine scans if you’re worried so you can stay on top of your health.
- Beforehand: You may have already had some liver function tests and been referred to a Hepatologist (a doctor who specialises in liver medicine) for a consultation and FibroScan. Or, this might be your first time with us as part of a general liver health check-up. Your GP may have recommended you have a scan or you may decide to refer yourself.
- Appointment: During your appointment, your consultant will talk you through the scan and explain how it works. You can then ask any questions, and once you’re comfortable, the scan can start. You’ll discuss your results during the appointment, and you’ll leave armed with all the information you need. At our hospital, uniquely, your scan will be with a specialist consultant rather than a technician, so you get the added benefit of expert knowledge and advice following the scan, as well as your results straight away.
- Aftercare: you can leave our hospital and carry on with your day as normal.
- Follow-up: depending on the results of your scan, your doctor might:
- Recommend further tests, suggest some lifestyle changes, and book in another consultation.
- Provide you with healthy lifestyle advice and recommend a further scan after a specific time interval if necessary
- Give no recommendations – keep up the good work and stay healthy!