New liver scan provides more information without invasive procedure


TROY — A new technology at Upper Valley Medical Center can provide physicians more details about a patient’s liver than in the past without an invasive biopsy.

The Ultrasound Liver Elastography is a scan that uses sound waves to evaluate the liver’s composition including its stiffness.

The scan uses special software that collects measurements for evaluation and interpretation by radiologists, said Jacqui Rose, UVMC director of medical imaging. In the past, the same information required obtaining samples of liver tissue via core needle biopsies.

“It helps your doctor determine the extent of fibrosis (scar tissue) in patients with chronic liver disease,” said Fayez Abboud, MD, a gastroenterologist at UVMC.

Various chronic liver diseases such as hepatitis B, C and fatty liver disease can lead to liver tissue damage and subsequent scar tissue formation, he said. As this scar tissue accumulates, the liver loses some elasticity and becomes stiffer. When this condition is left untreated, liver fibrosis may progress to the more serious condition of cirrhosis.

According to Abboud, elastography test results are always used in conjunction with other clinical data and laboratory test results to guide treatment. This technique can be used to not only assess how severe the liver disease is but guide treatment decisions, monitor response to treatment and guide or replace a liver biopsy, he said.

An individual diagnosis and treatment plan is developed for each patient, Rose said.

The UVMC Foundation provided funding to buy software for the ultrasound unit to perform the scans.

“This is a simple, painless way to get answers to questions about the liver,” Rose said.

The liver elastography scan requires a few minutes – usually 10 or less – to complete. A full liver scan, sometimes requested by a physician, takes longer.

For more information on Ultrasound Liver Elastography, contact [email protected] or 937-440-4803.

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