Advanced Liver Ultrasound-FibroScan

A female patient receiving a scan of her liver.The Liver Center at Tufts MC has a state-of-the-art outpatient clinic and endoscopy center with the most advanced treatment options for patients with liver diseases, including the FibroScan®. The FibroScan® is a quick, painless, and non-invasive way to examine the liver with a specialized ultrasound. 

The procedure measures fatty change (steatosis) and scarring (fibrosis), which helps our liver specialists to understand each patient’s overall liver health and develop personalized treatment plans. It can be used as a screening test to reveal early signs of liver disease in people without symptoms and used alone or with other tests. A Tufts MC Liver Center specialist interprets each result and communicates them to the referring physician within a week. Patients who are pregnant, or have any implantable electronic devices, including pacemakers, defibrillators, or pumps, should not have the FibroScan® procedure.

Patients who are having a FibroScan® at the Liver Center at Tufts MC should know what to expect and how to prepare for the procedure. 

What you should expect during your appointment 

  • First, you will be escorted to a private procedure room.
  • One of our specially trained technicians will ask you to lay on your back on a procedure bed and raise your right arm behind your head.
  • A water-based gel will be applied to your skin around the right side of your rib cage where the technician will carefully place a probe.
  • The probe sends out a small pulse of vibration (a sound wave) that passes through the skin to your liver and bounces back to be recorded by the scanner. The FibroScan® calculates the speed of this energy.
  • The emitted sound wave feels like a slight vibration on your skin from the tip of the probe, but it should not be painful in any way.
  • During the scan, ten measurements of your liver will be taken. The procedure should take between ten to twenty minutes, and then you may leave and resume your normal activities.

How you should prepare for the Fibroscan® procedure

  • Please do not eat or drink anything for 4 hours before your scheduled scan. In order to get accurate results, it is important to have an empty stomach during the procedure. You may have a few sips of water or clear fluid, but do not drink a large amount.
  • Take any medications you normally would with water.
  • Wear clothes that are comfortable and will allow us to uncover the right side of your rib cage to place the probe.

When you will receive your results

  • During the procedure, our medical assistant takes and records your liver measurements and forwards the information to the Liver Center specialists to study. Within a week, the liver specialists provide a written report to your referring physician to help you understand the results. We recommend you follow up with your referring physician in a week if you have not received your results.