Fibroscan to check for liver inflammation

A fibroscan is a type of ultrasound to measure inflammation in your liver. It helps your doctor to:

  • understand how much scarring (fibrosis) is in your liver
  • plan your treatment

Having a fibroscan is quick and painless. A small device produces high-frequency sound waves, which create an image of inside your liver. This device does not break your skin or enter your body.

The test is unlikely to have any risks or complications.

To have a fibroscan, you need to be able to lie flat on an examination couch. Please tell us before your appointment if you think that this will be difficult for you. 

On the day of your fibroscan

Preparing for your scan

You need to continue taking any prescribed medicines.

Do not eat or drink anything for 2 hours before your fibroscan. You can take small sips of water or clear fluid if needed, but do not drink large amounts.

Before your fibroscan, we talk to you about the scan and make sure that you are happy to have it. You can ask us any questions. 

You do not need to remove any clothes for the scan. However, we recommend that you do not wear a dress because we need to examine your tummy (abdomen).

You do not need to remove any jewellery, such as a belly button piercing.

During your scan

We ask you to lie on an examination couch and put your right arm above your head.  

The nurse feels your tummy to find the right place to put the probe for the scan. A probe is a small device that sends out sound waves in pulses (slight vibrations or short bursts). 

The sound waves pass through your skin to your liver and bounce back. This feels like a gentle flick against the side of your skin. It should not hurt. 

The scanner measures the time that it takes for a sound wave to bounce back. We repeat this at least 10 times to make sure that we get an accurate result. The scanner then calculates the average reading.

The scan usually takes between 5 and 10 minutes. You are then ready to leave straight away and can return to your usual activities.

Result of your scan

We send the result to the doctor who referred you for the fibroscan. They explain the result to you at your next appointment in the clinic.

Other options to having a fibroscan

We explain any other options available to you in detail.

One option is to have a liver biopsy. This is when we remove a small sample of liver tissue with a needle. You would need to stay in hospital for several hours after the biopsy. There are several small risks, such as internal bleeding.

Resource number: 2056A/VER6
Published date: June 2022
Review date: June 2025

Contact us

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the gastroenterology department.

Phone: 020 7188 2492 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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