Your liver is a vital organ that performs many life-supporting functions, like removing toxins from your blood and converting food into energy. There are many conditions that affect the function of the liver, including hepatitis, cirrhosis, and fatty liver disease.
Most types of liver disease cause similar symptoms, such as abdominal pain, edema, or yellowing of the skin (jaundice). Fatty liver disease is one of the most common types of liver disease and develops without symptoms.
We perform blood and imaging tests to diagnose fatty liver disease. But for most patients, doctors need a liver biopsy to confirm the diagnosis and assess the degree of liver damage.
That’s changing. With advances in technology, the liver biopsy is no longer your only option for diagnosing the severity of fatty liver disease.
At Sam Weissman, MD, in Brooklyn, New York, our experienced gastroenterologist uses the noninvasive Fibroscan® 502 Touch to diagnose and monitor fatty liver disease.
Here, we share with you why we manage fatty liver disease with the Fibroscan 502 Touch imaging system.
Fatty liver disease means you have a buildup of fat in your liver. There are two types of fatty liver disease: nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and alcoholic fatty liver disease.
NAFLD is the most common cause of liver disease. It’s estimated that up to 24% of adults in the United States have NAFLD. Researchers are still investigating what causes the excess fat to build up in the liver, but theorize that it may be related to genetics and diet.
Certain health conditions put you at risk of developing NAFLD, including diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and obesity.
Alcoholic fatty liver disease is the result of excessive consumption of alcohol.
Both types of fatty liver disease often develop without causing symptoms other than fatigue and some discomfort in your upper abdominal area. Without obvious symptoms, fatty liver disease may go unnoticed and undiagnosed.
Traditionally, a liver biopsy is the gold standard test for diagnosing fatty liver disease. But a liver biopsy is a surgical procedure that requires sedation and recovery time.
Fibroscan 502 Touch is a non-invasive solution that’s fast becoming the gold standard test for managing liver health.
Fibroscan 502 Touch uses patented technology — Vibration Controlled Transient Elastography (VCTE™) — to measure the stiffness of your liver.
During the test, we place the handheld Fibroscan device on your abdomen. It sends out a vibration wave to your liver and measures the time it takes for the vibration wave to return. This is known as the shear wave velocity.
The stiffer the liver, the higher the shear wave velocity. A stiffer liver means more liver damage.
Fibroscan 502 Touch testing is a lot like ultrasound testing. We may request that you not eat or drink two hours prior to the test, but there’s no other special preparation.
The innovative liver scan test is noninvasive and painless and requires no sedation, so you can drive yourself to and from the test. The test itself takes about 10 minutes.
During the Fibroscan, we apply a gel to your skin and then place the handheld device over your liver. You may feel a slight vibration from the device on your skin.
After the test, the Fibroscan computer program analyzes the data and provides us with the results.
We use the information from the Fibroscan to assess the severity of your fatty liver disease and provide treatment recommendations. If you avoid alcohol, eat a balanced diet, and lose weight (if you have weight challenges), your liver may repair itself, reversing the damage.
Fatty liver disease is common and can lead to health complications like liver failure. But with tools like Fibroscan 502 Touch, we can easily screen for liver disease and take action early to prevent permanent damage.
If you’re ready to say bye-bye to liver biopsies, call our office in Brighton Beach or request an appointment online to learn more about our non-invasive diagnostic tool.