The liver, located on the right side of the abdomen beneath the rib cage, secretes bile needed to digest food and also removes toxins and alcohol from the body. If extra fat builds up inside the liver, or if the liver begins to stiffen from scarring (fibrosis), it could reduce blood flow into the organ and compromise its functioning.

FibroScan, also called transient elastography, is an enhanced ultrasound device that can detect signs of liver disease, including fibrosis and fat on the liver. During this procedure, a trained Cincinnati GI technician will spread a gel on the patient’s right abdominal area and then place a wand-like probe device on the spot over the liver.

The probe delivers a series of sound waves that travel to and bounce off the liver. These sound waves are recorded, measured, and transformed into an image on a nearby monitor that can reveal the presence of fat or fibrosis.

During the test, the patient may feel mild flicks as the sound waves are administered, but this should not hurt. The scanning itself often takes five to 10 minutes.


A FibroScan is an outpatient, non-invasive procedure. The patient should not eat for two to three hours before the procedure (your physician will advise specifics).

Conditions treated or diagnosed by this procedure:

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