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Ultrasound equipment.


A FibroScan is a type of ultrasound that can measure the degree of stiffness or scarring of your liver. It can also give information on the fat content in the liver. It is a simple, painless test that uses high frequency sound waves. Understanding the condition of your liver will help to plan for your treatment.

The scan is quick and painless and doesn’t have any potential complications or risks as it is non-invasive.

You cannot have a FibroScan if you are pregnant or have an implantable device such as a pacemaker or defibrillator.

While you are waiting for your FibroScan it is important to ensure you continue to look after your liver health. Ensuring you have a healthy diet, regular exercise and reducing your weight to achieve a healthy range Body Mass Index (BMI) will all help your liver. If you have conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure or cholesterol, then it is important that these are treated appropriately. You should also ensure that your alcohol intake is less than 14 units per week spread across 3 or more days. The British Liver Trust website has excellent resources.

The hospital will send you some instructions on how to prepare for your FibroScan. You will need to stop eating and drinking for two hours before your scan. You will be able to take some small sips of water if needed, but it’s important to avoid large amount of fluid. You should also continue to take any prescribed medication.

The right side of your abdomen (tummy) will need to be exposed to complete the FibroScan so think about wearing something that you can easily pull up when you attend for your appointment.

What should you do if your health is deteriorating?

If you develop new symptoms of yellowing of the skin (jaundice), increasing abdominal swelling, confusion or experience blood in your vomit or black stools then please seek an urgent review.

If your appointment has come through but your condition is getting worse, you should contact the hospital team or Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). The number and email for this should be on the hospital appointment letter.

If you haven’t yet received your hospital appointment and your condition is getting worse, you should contact your GP practice. Your GP cannot get you seen quicker at the hospital as they don’t have access to the waiting list or appointment system.

However, if your condition is getting worse or if you are experiencing new symptoms they can assess the situation, give you some advice and may be able to update your specialist to consider upgrading your procedure.

Alternatively, the NHS 111 service is available if you have a medical problem and aren’t sure what to do. To access NHS 111, visit 111 online or call 111. The service operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

BSL users can use the NHS video interpreter service.

Last Updated: 12 April 2024

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