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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 May 2007, 11:59 GMT 12:59 UK
Liver scanner avoids biopsy need
Fibro scanner in use
The procedure means more patients can be seen in a week
A new scanner that can pick up signs of liver illness and scarring in minutes has been introduced at Frenchay Hospital, Bristol.

Until now a biopsy was needed which was painful for the patient and risked damage to the organ.

The fibro scanner offers a painless and non-invasive test that works in a similar way to ultrasound.

It was partially paid for using a donation of 30,000 from the Friends of Frenchay Hospital.

'Incredible breakthrough'

Dr Robert Przemioslo, consultant in gastroenterology, said: "The fibro scanner really is an incredible breakthrough in helping us to diagnose liver illness quickly and painlessly using a non-invasive technique.

"It works by using sound waves that pass through the liver - the slower the sound waves travel, the healthier the liver.

"It gives us a computer-generated image and a readout that tells us exactly what the damage is. The procedure takes minutes so we can see many more patients a week," he said.

North Bristol NHS Trust said the scanner would have a positive effect on waiting lists although some patients would have conditions that would still require a traditional biopsy.

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