How can fatty liver be diagnosed?

Diagnosis of fatty liver disease. Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and examine you. He or she may also ask you about your medical history. It’s important to be honest about your lifestyle and the amount of alcohol you drink, as this will help your doctor make the right diagnosis. Fatty liver disease can sometimes be difficult to diagnose because you may not have any symptoms.

Your doctor may ask you to have a blood test to check how well your liver is working. You may have other blood tests to find the cause of your symptoms or to rule out other possible causes.

You may be referred to a hepatologist, a doctor who specialises in conditions affecting your liver. There is no single test that can be used to diagnose fatty liver disease, but he or she may carry out some of the tests listed below.

• Ultrasound or scan. An ultrasound, CT scan or MRI scan can all be used to create images of your liver. These images will show any fat in your liver.
• Fibroscan. This is similar to an ultrasound scan – it can help to show any scarring of your liver.
Liver biopsy. This is the only way to confirm how much damage there is to your liver. A biopsy is a small sample of tissue. It’s taken using a very fine hollow needle that is inserted into your liver under local anaesthetic. The sample is then sent to a laboratory for analysis.

Related Questions

How can fatty liver be diagnosed?

Ultrasound/LFTs. Usually, the first sign of fatty liver is a slight elevation of liver enzymes called transaminases. If we find these on routine screening, we'll confirm the diagnosis of fatty liver via a simple ultrasound. Treatment is to decrease visceral adipose stores (the fat around your mid-section). Fyi - the medical term for fatty liver is non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (nash). It sounds cooler... Read more...
Nonalcoholic fatty . The most common presentation is a persistent slightly high elevation of the "liver enzymes" with negative tests for hepatitis a, b or c a d without evidence of other liver disease. The ultrasound texture of the liver will be more hyperechoic, shinny, or "bright", associated to metabolic syndrome: mild overweight or obesity, pre diabetes or diabetes, high fatty food intake. Nash. Read more...