Liver health is an unmet medical need on a global scale. Despite the fact that it’s a vital organ, most people are not aware of their liver health and don’t understand how critical it is. Chronic liver disease is increasingly common, but it can be reversible if diagnosed early, correctly monitored, and properly treated. Kansas City Research Institute (KCRI) is a team of medical professionals who are passionate about educating and providing resources surrounding liver health and the treatment of liver disease.
So how can you determine the health status of your liver and what next steps to take? Look to FibroScan near you in Kansas City, an innovative screening device created to non-invasively measure liver health. KCRI is a leader in FibroScan technology and committed to bringing these resources to all patients struggling with liver concerns.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about FibroScan technology, how to prepare for your FibroScan, and more.
What is Fatty Liver Disease (FLD)
Fatty liver disease (FLD) refers to complications that arise from an excess of fat stored in the liver. According to data from the Mayo Clinic, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease affects about one quarter of the population in the U.S.
There are no FDA approved treatments for FLD, and it can progress quickly into more serious issues like end stage liver disease or cirrhosis in 25% of patients, even though it presents with no symptoms at all.
FibroScan is commonly used to diagnose and treat those living with FLD. It is a helpful tool in identifying FLD in symptomless patients.
FibroScan near you: how it works
FibroScan is a non-invasive device used to assess liver health. It measures the degree of fibrosis, or scarring, on the liver that could be caused by a number of liver conditions or diseases. Excess scarring on the liver is called cirrhosis and indicates liver damage that could disrupt long-term function.
The device measures fibrosis based on the “hardness,” or stiffness, of the liver using a probe similar to an ultrasound. Once we determine the degree of fibrosis, we can recommend further testing, treatment options, or clinical trials.
Related: Fatty Liver Disease clinical trials at KCRI →
FibroScan works by administering vibration waves to the body using the probe on the device, a technique called transient elastography. The FibroScan device records how much time it takes for the vibrations to travel through the skin to a particular depth within the liver. Because liver tissue affected by fibrosis is harder than normal liver tissue, it takes longer for the vibrations to penetrate it. This extra time is what determines the degree of liver stiffness, and therefore the degree of fibrosis.
What makes FibroScan unique?
FibroScan near you in Kansas City is a non-invasive, gold-standard care solution for the comprehensive management of liver health. It is an alternative to liver biopsy, which is a more invasive procedure that uses a needle to retrieve a liver tissue sample. Because of this, using FibroScan can greatly improve treatment and care for patients who need continual reassessment of their liver condition.
FibroScan technology is fast and intuitive. The exam can be performed in-office by any medical professional in under 10 minutes, providing immediate results at the point of care.
FibroScan can be used to reach a diagnosis or measure the status of a multitude of conditions affecting the liver, including:
- Chronic Hepatitis B
- Chronic Hepatitis C
- Fatty Liver Disease (FLD)
- Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)
- Liver failure
- Metabolic diseases
- Autoimmune diseases
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FibroScan readings are useful in every step of identifying, treating, and reevaluating liver disease patients. FibroScan results are used to:
- Estimate the severity of existing liver damage (scarring)
- Determine the amount of fat in the liver
- Guide prognosis and treatment
- Monitor liver disease progression and regression over time
What makes you a candidate for a FibroScan?
The easiest way to determine if you are a candidate for a FibroScan is if you have been previously diagnosed with or treated for a liver condition. If so, you may refer yourself for a scan. FibroScan is a unique solution to track your progression and regression, as well as to aid your medical provider in curating treatments and therapies.
FibroScan is a less expensive alternative to liver biopsy and most often covered by insurance policies. You can receive a FibroScan with a self-referral, a referral from your primary care physician, or a referral from another specialist.
If you are experiencing symptoms related to liver disease, such as yellowing of the skin and eyes, itchy skin, abdominal pain and swelling, chronic fatigue, or nausea and vomiting, visit a physician to get a referral for a FibroScan near you. While these symptoms may not always indicate liver disease or failure, the health of your liver could be contributing to your overall health in a way that is worth investigating.
An important reminder: most liver conditions, including fatty liver disease, can show little to no symptoms until it is too late. It is estimated that 2.5% of the world is suffering from liver disease, and many people don’t even know it. Liver damage can only be reversed if caught and treated early on. FibroScan is a quick, pain-free resource to stay on top of your liver health, and maintain it for years to come.
How to prepare for a FibroScan near you
To prepare for a FibroScan near you, it is important that you don’t eat or drink anything for at least 3 hours leading up to your appointment. Additionally, we ask that you refrain from drinking significant amounts of alcohol for at least two weeks in advance. Both of these measures will ensure that the device is able to get an accurate reading of your liver, without the effects of recent food and drink.
Because FibroScan is non-invasive, any medications you might be taking will not affect the scan. We recommend that you continue to take all prescribed medications as necessary before and after your scan.
You can stay fully-clothed during the scan. However, we will need to expose the right side of your abdomen, so we recommend that you wear easily-adjusted clothing, like pants or a skirt, on the day of your FibroScan appointment.
Frequently asked questions about FibroScan near you
Here are some of the most common questions about FibroScan.
Is FibroScan painful?
No. When using the FibroScan device, assessing your liver health is a short, painless, non-invasive exam. FibroScan is an impactful solution for patients who need to frequently update or monitor their liver health status. It’s a great alternative to invasive procedures like liver biopsy that require a period of rest and recovery and leave you at risk for pain, bleeding, and infection in extreme cases.
How much does a FibroScan cost?
In addition to being less risky and less invasive than a liver biopsy, FibroScan is also less expensive. Because the FibroScan device is able to take measurements and provide immediate results, it is a significantly less costly option than a biopsy, which requires both a sterile procedure and lab results. FibroScan is also covered by most insurance policies, which means you likely won’t pay anything out of pocket other than what is left on your insurance deductible.
How do I know if I qualify for a FibroScan near me?
If you have a pre-existing liver condition that you’re already aware of, you may choose to self-refer, see a specialist, or meet with one of our medical team members at KCRI to receive your referral. You can also be referred from a primary care physician based on your symptoms associated with liver disease, or current risk factors like obesity, diabetes, or family history.
It is never too early to invest in your liver health. About 1 in 50 people are living with fatty liver disease, and many have no symptoms at all. Even small signs can make a big difference in your future. Contact your physician to take the first steps, or reach out to KCRI for guidance.
What happens after I get my FibroScan results?
The results of your FibroScan will not only allow your medical team to get an accurate picture of your liver health, including any fibrosis, it will also allow them to curate therapies for you. Determining the degree of damage allows us to customize treatment options, from drug therapies, to clinical trials, and more. The next steps after a FibroScan will look different for every patient, but your results will inform the course of your treatment.
Why choose KCRI for liver disease treatment
Dr. Bradley Freilich, the founder KCRI, is a widely published, board certified gastroenterologist and hepatologist specializing in fatty liver disease. He is passionate about offering resources and positive guidance for liver disease patients through the power of research.
With the help of his dedicated team, Dr. Freilich works to bring safe, reliable, and groundbreaking treatment opportunities to fatty liver patients from all over the Kansas City metro. That’s our specialty; that’s our mission.
Contact Kansas City Research Institute to see if FibroScan is right for you
While there is no cure for liver disease, professionals at KCRI are dedicated to helping our patients manage and improve their symptoms with leading research and technology.
If you are interested in learning about how FibroScan near you can impact your treatment and care, contact Kansas City Research Institute today to speak to a medical professional.