Transient elastography: Applications and limitations


Dr Kentaro Yoshioka, Division of Liver, Biliary Tract and Pancreas Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, Fujita Health University, 1-98 Dengakugakubo, Kutsukake, Toyoake, Aichi 470-1192, Japan. Email:


Transient elastgraphy with use of FibroScan is one of most accurate methods for assessment of liver fibrosis. FibroScan can be readily used with an operator with a short training. In many different studies, liver stiffness measured by transient elastgraphy correlates well with fibrosis stages, and cutoff values of liver stiffness for fibrosis staging are similar even among different diseases. However there is wide variation of stiffness values in the same fibrosis stage, and some overlap between the adjacent stages. In addition, inflammatory activity and size of nodule of cirrhosis affect the liver stiffness values. The reproducibility may be reduced by age, obesity, steatosis, narrow intercostal space and lower degrees of hepatic fibrosis in patients. Thus the estimation of fibrosis stages from liver stiffness should be cautiously done. To improve the accuracy of liver fibrosis staging, the combination of transient elastography with other noninvasive methods such as FibroTest should be required.