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What is FibroScan®?

FibroScan is a technology used by the gastrointestinal physicians at GI Alliance to non-invasively examine the liver. Also referred to as transient elastography, the scan utilizes a specialized ultrasound machine to measure the state of fibrosis and steatosis in the liver. Fibrosis occurs when the liver replaces healthy tissue with scar tissue in an attempt to heal itself from some other condition. Hepatic steatosis is also known as fatty change and occurs when fat builds up in the liver cells.

Using FibroScan, your doctor will be able to assess the state and function of your liver, and provide a diagnosis and treatment plan without invasively entering the body to examine the liver. If you have a liver condition, contact a GI Alliance office in your community to learn if you might benefit from FibroScan technology.

Who is a candidate for FibroScan testing?

FibroScan testing may be recommended for patients who have early to advanced liver disease or other conditions. These may include:

  • Certain types of hepatitis
  • Cirrhosis of the liver (severe scarring)
  • Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
  • Alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Dysmetabolic syndrome
  • Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC)
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Other types of chronic liver disease


How is FibroScan performed?

A FibroScan test is generally a comfortable procedure that is completed within about 10 – 15 minutes. A sensor will be placed on your skin right above your liver. This special sensor emits sound waves through your liver to measure the rate at which sound travels through the organ. The FibroScan system then generates a series of results that your GI Alliance physician will utilize to evaluate the amount of stiffness (fibrosis) present within your liver.

How do you read and interpret FibroScan results?

FibroScan results are provided according to steatosis grade and fibrosis score. The following charts contain generalized information regarding what the results of the scan might indicate. You should discuss your results in detail with your GI Alliance gastroenterologist following your FibroScan test.

Steatosis grade: The steatosis result describes the level of fatty change in the liver and is provided via a controlled attenuation parameter (CAP) score, which is measured in decibels per meter (dB/m). The range is from 100 to 400 dB/m, and various ranges result in a different steatosis grade.

CAP Score (dB/m)

Steatosis Grade

Amount of Liver With Fatty Change

238 – 260


11% – 33%

260 – 290


34% – 66%

290 +


67% +


Fibrosis score: The fibrosis result is a measurement of the stiffness of the liver and represents the level of scarring that the liver has experienced. Your medical provider will use your FibroScan result combined with your medical history to determine your fibrosis score. Various liver diseases and conditions can affect the fibrosis score.

  • F0 to F1: No scarring/mild scarring
  • F2: Moderate scarring
  • F3: Severe scarring
  • F4: Advanced scarring (cirrhosis)

What are the advantages of FibroScan?

Because FibroScan utilizes ultrasound technology, there is very little to no risk associated with the procedure. FibroScan is a non-invasive imaging technique and therefore is generally comfortable. It allows for a broader examination of the entire liver rather than examination of only a small portion that occurs in a liver biopsy. Additionally, no sedation is necessary for the procedure, it is relatively inexpensive, quickly accomplished, and the results are instantaneous.

Specialized care for liver conditions

As the second-largest organ in the body, your liver performs functions vital to your health. Fibrosis and steatosis can affect your liver and your body in a number of ways and can lead to life-threatening conditions without proper care. To learn more about FibroScan or to meet with a liver specialist near you, please contact your local GI Alliance facility today.

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How should I prepare for a FibroScan test?

You must avoid eating and drinking anything except small sips of water three hours before your FibroScan test. It is okay, however, to still take your medications as prescribed. Our GI Alliance specialists encourage you to wear loose-fitting clothes so that our providers can access the right side of your ribcage. Your GI doctor will discuss specific instructions with you before the exam to ensure you know and understand what to expect before, during, and after the FibroScan process.

What liver diseases can FibroScan help monitor?

A FibroScan test can help detect and monitor the progression of a range of liver diseases, including:

  • Hepatitis B and C
  • Alcoholic liver disease
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
  • Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
  • Hemochromatosis
What is the difference between an ultrasound and Fibroscan?

FibroScan is a variation of ultrasound that uses the same technology as a routine ultrasound, called transient elastography. While similar, FibroScan was created to assess liver stiffness and is more sensitive to detecting liver issues than a standard ultrasound.

Is FibroScan better than a liver biopsy?

FibroScan is often a great nonsurgical alternative to a liver biopsy. However, there may be certain instances where a liver biopsy is ideal. This can include situations where a patient has a pacemaker or defibrillator, is pregnant, or has fluid in the abdomen. Results may be inaccurate in individuals who are considered obese. Our GI Alliance gastroenterology providers can help determine if a FibroScan or liver biopsy is right for you.

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Colonoscopy: If you need to have one, Dr Rufner in Lowry is the GI doc to see. Dr Rufner teams with experienced anesthesiologist and nurses. He was one of Dr Mallory, retired GI who taught gastroenterology at UC medical school to this generation of doctors. Would recommend using zinc oxide/ diaper rash ointment BEFORE drinking bowel prep. Takes 72 hours to rebuild your microbiome.

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