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Diagnosis Gastroenterology

Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) often is found incidentally, as part of testing for an unrelated problem. The following tests may be used to confirm the diagnosis:

  • Blood Tests Blood tests that measure global liver function and indicate inflammatory activity will be performed, along with additional blood tests to exclude viral hepatitis.
  • Liver Ultrasound This is a simple imaging procedure that looks for irregularities in the shape and consistency of the liver and for problems of the biliary tract, such as gallstones.
  • Computed Tomography (CT) Computed tomography (CT) is a method of body imaging in which a thin X-ray beam rotates around the patient, to provide a detailed view of the liver.
  • Liver Biopsy In some cases, a liver biopsy may be needed to make a definite diagnosis of NAFLD. The test also helps in defining the stage of disease and severity of liver inflammation. During the biopsy, which is an outpatient procedure and performed under local anesthesia, a needle is inserted into the liver to obtain a small sample.

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.