Liver ultrasound

Liver sonogram

A liver ultrasound is a safe and quick scan that uses sound waves to produce detailed images of your liver


A liver ultrasound is an imaging test that uses sound waves to produce detailed images (sonograms) of your liver. These images can then be analysed, first by a radiologist and then by your GP or HPB consultant, to help check for liver conditions like fatty liver and hepatocellular carcinoma.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    A liver ultrasound is a safe, routine scan, normally carried out by a HCA UK radiologist in the imaging department of a one of our facilities.

    Immediately before the scan, your radiologist will ask you to reveal the top part of your abdomen. They'll then ask you to lie on your back before applying gel to the exposed area. Next, they'll gently move a small device, called a transducer, across your skin. The transducer will emit sound waves to generate detailed moving images of your liver on a screen. Your radiologist will write a report based on the images, before sending it to your GP or HPB consultant to discuss the findings with you.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    You'll most likely be asked to avoid eating four to six hours prior to the scan. You'll also need to limit yourself to drinking clear liquids only during this time.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    A liver ultrasound only takes 15-20 minutes. If you're visiting the hospital for this test only (as an outpatient), you'll most likely be able to go home straight away, unless you have a follow-up appointment on the same day. If you're an inpatient (staying at the hospital for treatment), your consultant or nurse will let you know what happens after the scan.

    Your radiologist will examine the images and prepare a report. This report will contain important information about the surface, shape and health of your liver. The report will be sent to your GP or HPB consultant, who will discuss it with you during a follow-up appointment.

Liver ultrasound

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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