Non-invasive, risk-free, painless liver FibroScan now available at Sydney Norwest Gastroenterology
A/Prof. David van der Poorten
BSc (Med) MBBS (Hons) FRACP PhD
02 8711 0160
Referrals are preferred but not required.
By A/Prof. David van der Poorten
Sydney Norwest Gastroenterology, located at Lakeview Private Hospital, has acquired a FibroScan 530 – the latest liver elastography device that in many cases replaces invasive liver biopsies and gives the most reliable and up-to-date liver stiffness (fibrosis) and CAP (steatosis) readings.
Associate Professor David van der Poorten, said “We are thrilled to have this advanced piece of technology for our patients to determine the extent of scarring or fattiness in a liver. Compared to biopsies the FibroScan is non-invasive, risk-free, painless, accurate and the results are immediate. Importantly, our patients no longer have to wait up to three months for this procedure in the public system.”
The FibroScan measures liver stiffness and CAP simultaneously in the same liver volume. Liver stiffness correlates with the extent of fibrosis (scarring) in the liver – the result of inflammation and damage from a range of causes such as viral hepatitis, alcohol and fatty liver to name a few. The FibroScan can very accurately determine if there is cirrhosis or a serious liver problem. CAP values correlate with the overall fat content of the liver (steatosis) and combined with liver stiffness, CAP is the only way to fully assess fatty liver disease.
Liver biopsies can have complications: the main ones being haemorrhaging and pain. For this reason biopsies can’t be done on an annual basis which makes it difficult to monitor treatment or disease progress. Additionally, a liver biopsy only evaluates 1/50000th of the liver where the FibroScan evaluates 1/500th of the liver – 100 times more liver tissue.
FibroScan has been validated for assessment of severity and long term monitoring in most liver diseases including alcohol related liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and NASH, hepatitis B and C, autoimmune hepatitis, cholestatic liver disease (PBC and PSC), and drug related diseases (e.g. methotrexate).
Patients are asked to fast for two hours prior to the scan for the most accurate reading. The only details required are the reason for the scan, any known underlying liver disease and previous fibroscan/liver biopsy results (if relevant).
For a standalone FibroScan procedure the cost is $250. The cost for a scan as a part of a specialist consultation (110/116 – referral required) is $100, which is in addition to the cost of the consultation.
Fibroscan 530 with LSM and CAP benefits for patients
- Fast exam – only five minutes
- Avoid long wait with public hospital
- Immediate results
What happens during a FibroScan?
Patients are asked to lie on their back with their right arm raised behind their head. A special probe with gel is then placed over the right side over the ribs. This probe generates harmless elastic waves and measurements are recorded. The total duration is 5-10 minutes.
When should GPs refer for a FibroScan?
- Patients known to have liver disease,
- Where liver function tests (LFTs) are abnormal,
- Patients with moderate to high alcohol consumption levels,
- Patient on medications that might affect the liver, and/or
- Patients with known fatty liver.