Methodist Dallas Introduces New Noninvasive Diagnostic Test for Liver Disease Patients

liver instituteThe Liver Institute at Methodist Dallas Medical Center is the first hospital in North Texas — and one of only two in Texas — now using the FibroScan® device in the diagnosis and treatment of liver disease. The procedure offers patients a new scanning technology to measure the degree of fibrosis (scarring), or stiffness, in the liver without the need for a biopsy. The immediate benefits are that the procedure is less expensive, noninvasive, and faster, with results available during the patient’s visit. FibroScan has been used in Europe and was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in the United States.

FibroScan uses a wand-like probe placed on top of the skin on the right side of the body where the liver is located. It sends a painless vibration through the liver, then measures how fast the sound wave travels through it. This measurement indicates the liver’s density or stiffness. The faster the vibration travels through the liver, the “stiffer” it is, indicating more scar tissue and advanced disease. Scarring in the liver is the result of chronic conditions, such as viral hepatitis B and C and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

“Because it is noninvasive and readily available at the time of the patient’s office visit, it will allow physicians to improve patient monitoring of their liver disease,” says hepatologist Hector E. Nazario, MD, transplantation and hepatobiliary services at The Liver Institute at Methodist Dallas. “The immediate and reliable results obtained with the FibroScan help us expedite disease management decisions that could impact the course of their disease progression.”

Liver diseases have a great impact on Americans today. The American Liver Foundation estimates that 30 million Americans are personally affected by liver disease, which includes chronic hepatitis B and C and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. According to the foundation, many liver diseases are preventable, and if detected early, they can be reversible and less expensive to treat.

FibroScan was first introduced in Europe in 2003 and received FDA clearance in April 2013. The noninvasive — and far more affordable — nature of the test may help to ease patient concerns and improve early detection of liver disease. Patients, who may have previously avoided testing for fear of cost and discomfort, may now opt to gain insights. FibroScan has the potential to save lives by helping physicians with earlier diagnoses.

FibroScan was purchased thanks to generous donations from Stanley Peavy Jr. Fund and Methodist Dallas Medical Center Auxiliary. Stan Peavy was The Liver Institute's 50th transplant in 2006.

For more information about liver disease and treatments offered at The Liver Institute, visit

About Methodist Health System

Guided by the founding principles of life, learning, and compassion, Methodist Health System provides quality, integrated care to improve and save the lives of individuals and families throughout North Texas. Methodist Dallas Medical Center, Methodist Charlton Medical Center, Methodist Mansfield Medical Center, Methodist Richardson Medical Center, and Methodist Family Health Centers are part of the nonprofit Methodist Health System, which is affiliated by covenant with the North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church. Additional information is available at Connect with them through Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

Robin Daniels