What is this scan for?
The liver plays an important role in many bodily functions from protein production and blood clotting to cholesterol, glucose (sugar), and iron metabolism. There are many different conditions that can affect the proper functioning of the liver.
Most liver diseases initially present with very few symptoms. Typical symptoms of liver disease include nausea, sometimes with vomiting, pain high up on the right side of the abdomen, jaundice, tiredness, weakness and weight loss.
Untreated liver disease tends to develop over time and generally progresses from initial inflammation (alcoholic hepatitis), to scarring, to irreparable liver damage (cirrhosis) and further complications which may then lead to liver failure or cancerous liver tumours. However, if liver disease is left untreated it can be fatal.
What does this scan show?
The scan checks the size, shape, and position of the liver and identifies liver masses, cirrhosis and fatty liver which are typically signs of liver disease.
The Ultrasound Scan Procedure
Ultrasound is safe, non-invasive and does not use ionizing radiation. During the ultrasound scan the sonographer will place a warm water-based gel on the area to be examined, and will then press firmly on the skin with an ultrasound probe, moving it around until they have obtained the desired images. The ultrasound scan has no known risks and is usually pain free. When the scan is completed the gel can be wiped off easily using tissue.