Liver Elastography Ultrasound

Ultrasound elastography is a painless, non-invasive medical imaging technique that helps determine the stiffness of organs and other structures in your body. This technique is most often used to assess your liver, where increased liver stiffness is associated with early liver disease (fibrosis). Identifying liver fibrosis early in development can help your doctors guide management for prevention to a more advanced, non-reversible stage of liver disease known as cirrhosis.

Reasons for a Liver Elastography Ultrasound

Elastography is used to look for diseases in the liver. It can:

  • Detect and assess how severe your liver disease may be.
  • Guide treatment decisions.
  • Monitor response to treatment.
  • Guide or replace a liver biopsy.
  • Help predict the risk of complications of liver disease, such as spleen enlargement, bleeding, and fluid accumulation in the abdomen.

What Happens During My Liver Elastography Ultrasound?

  • You may be asked to change into a gown.
  • You will be asked to lie on your back or your side and to expose your upper abdomen.
  • The sonographer will apply a warm, hypoallergenic ultrasound gel and move the transducer around the scanned area with mild to moderate pressure, gathering images of your organs. The ultrasound is a painless and radiation-free procedure.
  • You may be asked to change position – lying on your side, standing, or sitting – to move your organs into a better position for imaging.
  • After the sonographer has captured enough images, you are free to leave.
  • A radiologist will review the images and send a detailed report to your doctor, usually within one business day.


If you have an Alberta Health Care card or valid health care card from out of province, there is no cost for an abdominal ultrasound (except in Quebec).


A liver elastography ultrasound scan lasts approximately 30 minutes.