What happens during a Fibroscan and why they are used in PSC


Fibroscan uses transient elastography, which is a technique similar to ultrasound, that measures the stiffness of your liver.

It is a non-invasive test and the level of stiffness is thought to represent the degree of scarring in the liver. The more stiffness there is, the higher the score, indicating a higher degree of fibrosis (scarring).

In PSC, the Fibroscan score is more useful if the score is very low (under 7) or high (over 40). Scores in between can be difficult to interpret. Liver scarring and fibrosis is not the only reason for a high Fibroscan score. It can be high if you have eaten (as that increases the blood flow to the liver) or if there is blockage of the bile ducts.

What happens during a Fibroscan?

You will be asked not to eat for two hours before your Fibroscan.

  1. When you arrive you will be asked to lie on the bed with your right arm behind your head. You will uncover the side of your body.
  2. The scanner places a probe on your skin, between two ribs on your right side, and the test will begin. You will feel a pulse as though someone is tapping or thumping you on your skin.

A Fibroscan takes only a few minutes.

Photo credit: Slaurent73 - CC BY-SA 4.0

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