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If you or someone you know is having a liver FibroScan, or experiencing symptoms with their liver, a trip to the GP may be the best course of action. In this blog, we are exploring what a liver FibroScan is, who might need one, and what the procedure entails. For more information about liver health, the different kinds of treatments you can choose from, and the benefits of private healthcare, then keep on reading.
A FibroScan is a scan performed to assess the health of your liver. It is a quick process used by medical professionals to look at the scarring (or fibrosis) found in your liver. A small device is used to produce high frequency sound waves, creating an image of the inside of the liver. The device doesn’t need to break skin or be inserted, so the procedure is painless and non-invasive.
It uses this ultrasound technology to look at the hardness of your liver as well as the amount of fat build up in your liver. Fibrosis is a term for heavy scarring on your liver and is measured separately from Steatosis. Steatosis is a condition caused by having too much fat on your liver. Medical professionals will be looking out for either of these symptoms as well as liver inflammation.
Liver inflammation, or an inflamed liver can be an indicator for a more serious health problem. Your liver is an essential organ which processes nutrients, filters your blood and fights off infections. If your liver isn’t working properly, this can lead to more damage to other areas of your body and you may experience a range of different symptoms.
Things like heavy alcohol use, certain medications, toxins and other underlying medical conditions can contribute to liver damage. Hepatitis is the term given to describe inflammation of the liver. It’s usually caused by a viral infection or liver damage from excessive alcohol consumption.
There are a range of different types of hepatitis that you can get, ranging from A – E. Types A and E are usually the ones that people recover from without any treatment. Variations B, C and D, however, are more dangerous. They can become chronic and some patients may die from liver cancer in worst case scenarios.
There are a range of health complications that might impact the results of your FibroScan, meaning it isn’t as accurate. These factors could include:
If you are going into the hospital or to a GP surgery for your fibroscan, this is a brief rundown of what the procedure should entail.
On the day of your scan, there are a few things you can do to prepare for the procedure. Firstly, it’s important to continue taking any prescribed medicines as usual. Also, do not eat or drink anything in the 2 hours before your procedure. If you need to drink, small sips of water are okay and will not affect your scan.
Before the scan takes place, a medical professional will talk to you and explain the procedure. You can feel free to ask us any questions before we go ahead with the scan.
The scan is non-invasive and you will not have to remove your clothes or any jewellery (such as belly piercings) for the procedure to take place. The scan will take place around your abdomen, where your liver is located.
During the scan you have absolutely nothing to worry about. You will be asked to lie on a sofa and put your right arm above your head. A medical professional will then have a feel of your tummy to find the right spot for the scan. Once they’ve found the perfect spot, a small device (a probe) will be used to send out sound waves in pulses to create the image of the inside of your liver. The process should not be painful at all.
The scanner measures the time taken for sound waves to bounce back, and your medical professional will repeat this process about 10 times to gain a more accurate average result. Overall, the scan should take up to 10 minutes, and after it is complete you can go back to your daily activities as normal.
The doctor who referred you for the FibroScan is the doctor who will discuss your results with you. They will be able to go through any abnormalities and advise you on the best course of action going forwards.
If you have any questions or concerns about your results then you can discuss them with your GP during this appointment.
There are alternatives to having a FibroScan, which are to have a biopsy carried out instead. A liver biopsy is a procedure where a small sample of liver tissue is collected via a needle. You would be asked to stay in the hospital for several hours if you decide to have a liver biopsy done, and there are several complications that could occur during the procedure.
Choosing a private clinic for your future procedures has a range of benefits that you might want to consider if you are in need of scans, routine medical care or other medical procedures. These are some of the key benefits that come with choosing independent healthcare.
Unlike the NHS, which is a free healthcare service provided by the UK government, private healthcare is a medical service that you pay for yourself. If you decide to pay for your healthcare through an independent hospital or clinic, then you are still free to use NHS services too, however it is usually recommended that you don’t cross treatments over the two healthcare providers.
Some of the benefits of private healthcare could include:
Here at Duality Health, we are proud to offer comprehensive private health services across Northern Ireland. From GP services to Contraception & Sexual Health, we offer a range of services to accommodate all of our patients. We take pride in offering healthcare at a high standard, and leaving all of our patients fully satisfied.
For further enquiries or more information, feel free to contact us on 028 3083 3666 today to speak to our team directly. We will be happy to answer any questions and help you find exactly what you’re looking for.