Fibroscan is an innovative, painless and non-invasive method for evaluating changes in the liver. Fibroscan technology allows accurate assessment of liver fibrosis resulting from various pathologies that cause damage to the liver, including metabolic syndrome and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, chronic viral hepatitis and excess alcohol intake. This simple, ten minute liver scan will spot any potential liver damage or disease, ending any unwarranted concern your lifestyle may have impacted on your health.


The detection of abnormal liver function tests warrants further investigation. It is important to establish the degree of liver scarring (or fibrosis) in order to intervene and offer an appropriate management plan. Fibroscan represents the ideal non-invasive method to establish the degree of liver fibrosis. A patient can undergo a Fibroscan at a single consultation and leave that consultation knowing the degree of liver damage they have.

It’s major advantage is that it is a quick and painless way of assessing liver health and in a significant proportion of patients, it has replaced liver biopsy.  The importance of Fibroscan lies in the fact that in many cases there are no outward signs of moderate or even severe liver disease, the fact that a 10 minute investigation can provide such critical information on liver health represents a major development in liver medicine.

Abnormal liver function tests and liver disease.

Deaths from liver disease in the UK are rising with the potential for liver disease to become the UK’s biggest killer within a generation.  The major causes of liver disease; alcohol, obesity and viral hepatitis often remain under the radar and the link between these conditions and advanced liver disease under appreciated. In the first instance, routine blood tests to detect abnormal liver function should be undertaken more often. Abnormal liver function tests reflect on going activity within the liver, this activity or inflammation is the starting point for liver scarring (or fibrosis), which can ultimately lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.

What does the liver do?

The liver is in the upper right part of the abdomen. The functions of the liver include: storing glycogen (fuel for the body) which is made from sugars; helping to process fats and proteins from digested food; making proteins that are essential for blood to clot (clotting factors); processing many medicines which you may take; helping to remove poisons and toxins from the body. The liver also makes bile which helps to digest fats.

Why measure liver function?

Liver function tests, sometimes called liver enzymes or liver tests, or transaminases are a collection of usually 5 biochemical tests that are used as a screen to see if there is any evidence of liver trouble such as a damaged or inflamed liver, or used to monitor an existing abnormality.

The reasons your doctor measured your liver function might be one of the following reasons:

  • Part of a general health screen
  • To help diagnose liver disorders if you have suggestive symptoms (such as jaundice). The pattern of the blood results may help to say which disorder is causing the problem. For example, depending on which enzyme is highest it may point to a particular disorder.
  • To monitor the activity and severity of liver disorders.
  • As a routine precaution after starting certain medicines such as a statin to check that they are not causing liver damage as a side-effect.
  • You might have a condition, such as diabetes, where fat in the liver can cause abnormal liver results
  • Your doctor may also be concerned with regards to your lifestyle, such as your alcohol intake or another condition you suffer from, such as colitis, may predispose you to liver disease.

What is fibroscan?

In the early stages of liver disease, symptoms are almost non-existent and conventional ultrasounds are poor at confirming any damage. A fibroscan is a liver scan that offers a risk free and highly accurate alternative – scanning the stiffness of your liver – instantly pinpointing any problems.

If you do have early changes within your liver, treatment can be tailored to your need.

A major risk factor to liver disease is unhealthy lifestyle especially excess alcohol consumption, increased weight, diabetes and blood pressure.

Your liver is tough. It can withstand years of damage by repairing itself and protecting the rest of your body. However, the liver is unable to signal real distress until it is in the end stages of liver failure, so that by the time you feel any symptoms of liver problems, the damage may be done.

If you feel that your lifestyle has taken its toll on your liver, this simple and risk free test is the answer!

Why opt for fibroscan?

Fibroscan technology allows accurate assessment of liver fibrosis resulting from various pathologies that cause damage to the liver, including metabolic syndrome and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, chronic viral hepatitis and excess alcohol intake.

The advantages of Fibroscan are:

  • It is a painless examination
  • It provides an instantaneous result
  • It is a proven evaluation of the liver, independent of extra-hepatic condition
  • The patient can leave the hospital immediately after the test
  • It is an operator-independent measurement
  • It is very easy to use
  • No anaesthetics are necessary

The fibroscan is a very useful diagnostic tool for a hepatologist to accurately identify patients with significant liver disease – allowing treatment to be tailored to the individuals need. Fibroscan should not be used on patients with ascites, patients who are pregnant, patients under the age of 18 years, or patients who have implanted electronic devices.

How does fibroscan work?


A probe is placed at the skin’s surface.  Using a combination of an elastic wave (generated by a mechanical pulse) and ultrasound technology, a numerical value is recorded. The stiffer the liver, the higher the value. The degree of stiffness of the liver is an indicator of damage, from whatever cause. Ten valid readings must be recorded.  The test is completely painless and normally takes up to half an hour to complete.


With no restriction on the frequency of use, fibroscan can monitor the progression, stagnation or regression of an individual’s liver disease and give an accurate quantitative measure of the success of treatments or lifestyle modification.
In some cases fibroscan may reduce the need for liver biopsy when assessing disease progress.


In the early stages of liver disease, symptoms are almost non-existent and liver function tests and conventional ultrasound has a poor predictive value in assessing fibrosis.

Fibroscan results

Liver tests routinely carried out by general practitioners and other doctors are really a screening test, and have limited value in deciding the nature of any liver complaint. They really just warn us to check the liver’ rather than indicating any firm diagnosis.

To decide what the problem is requires a detailed assessment of lifestyle, drug history, personal and travel history, the history of family members’ illnesses, a detailed physical examination, and a number of additional blood tests. An ultrasound scan is done to image the structure of the liver and surrounding organs. Sometimes a biopsy of the liver is required, and there are other, specialised tests like that are occasionally needed. Very often, abnormalities found by screening turn out to have no significance, and people can be reassured. Sometimes, however, important clinical conditions like Haemochromatosis, Wilson’s disease, Alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency, Coeliac disease, Viral hepatitis, Primary biliary cirrhosis, autoimmune chronic active hepatitis, Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) or primary sclerosing cholangitis are found.

All of these can be markedly improved or cured by simple treatments. Rarely, abnormal liver function tests are an indication of a cancer, but this is usually rapidly sorted out with a scan or two, and it is a very uncommon reason for people with abnormal liver tests being sent to a liver clinician. The single most common reason for abnormal liver tests these days is obesity, with fat being deposited in the liver causing the problem.

Contact us

To book your private liver scan or to ask a question, you can contact our appointments team by calling 020 7078 3802 or email gi.unit@hje.org.uk. Our team will endeavor to find the most convenient fibroscan appointment for you with same day appointments often available.

prolapse treatment london

GI Clinic

The GI Unit is supported by a multidisciplinary team of medical and surgical consultants. Our expert team treats and supports patients with any gastrointestinal conditions.

A patient speaking to a receptionist

Patient information

Our Hospital is renowned for providing exemplary levels of care across more than 90 services. From orthopaedics, to urology, our private GP practice and Urgent Care Clinic, our services are led by some of London’s leading Consultants. For more information, and to find a service suitable for your care, find out more about the services that we offer.

Make an enquiry

If you have any questions relating to treatment options or pricing information, get in touch with us by filling out one of our contact boxes or giving us a call on 020 7078 3802.

Our Appointments Team have a dedicated and caring approach to finding you the earliest appointment possible with the best specialist.

If you are self-paying you don’t need a referral from your GP for a consultation. You can simply refer yourself* and book an appointment.

If you have health insurance (e.g. Bupa, Axa Health, Aviva), you will need to contact your insurer to get authorisation before any treatment, and in most cases you will also require a referral letter from your GP.

If you are not registered with a GP, we have an in-house private GP practice you can use. Alternatively, we can suggest the most appropriate course of action for you to take, given your location and individual circumstances.

*Please note – for investigations such as X-rays and MRIs, a referral will be required. However, we may be able to arrange this for you through our on-site private GP.

    Make an enquiry

    Latest articles

    The latest news, insights and views from St John and Elizabeth Hospital.

    Find out what we’re doing to keep you safe, read expert articles and interviews with our leading specialist Consultants, learn more about common conditions and get your questions answered.

    home remedies for stomach pain

    05th May 2022

    Home remedies for stomach pain and when you should go to the hospital

    We all know what it’s like to have an upset tum or be…

    About hje hospital

    18th March 2022

    About St John & St Elizabeth Hospital

    Over the coming months, in planned phases, we’re opening the last few areas…

    health insurance

    18th March 2022

    Should you get health insurance?

    When it comes to paying for private healthcare, there are two main options…

    staying healthy while travelling

    17th March 2022

    5 tips for staying healthy abroad

    After the past couple of years we’ve had, you might be itching to…

    Private Cyst Removal

    20th January 2022

    What are cysts, and is cyst removal always needed?

    Cysts are a common skin condition, but what causes them, and do you…

    treatment after stroke

    18th January 2022

    Treatment after a stroke: What can you expect?

    A stroke occurs every five minutes in the UK. Post-stroke treatment is critical…

    medical professional looking into microscope

    12th January 2022

    Under the microscope: The many benefits of private healthcare

    Whatever your situation, there might come a point when you consider going private…

    shoulder pain

    11th January 2022

    What causes shoulder pain and what can you do about it?

    The shoulder is made up of various joints and tendons that allow a…

    gallbladder attack

    04th December 2021

    Are you having a gallbladder attack? Find out more about the causes, symptoms and treatment

    A gallbladder attack can happen at a moment’s notice and cause aggressive pain….

    overactive bladder

    02nd December 2021

    Constantly need to pee? How to treat an overactive bladder

    If you regularly get the feeling that you’ve “got to go”, you’re not…

    partial knee replacement

    29th November 2021

    Pros and cons of partial knee replacement: Is it right for you?

    More than 10 million people in the UK have osteoarthritis or a similar…

    hearing loss

    19th November 2021

    Surprising facts about hearing loss you may not know

    Did you know that hearing loss is the second most common disability in the UK? It affects one in six UK adults, but shockingly, people with hearing loss wait an average of 10 years

    on_sent_ok: "ga('send', 'event', 'Form','Submit','Contact us',1);"