Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease care at Mayo Clinic
Your Mayo Clinic care team
At Mayo Clinic, physicians specializing in digestive diseases (gastroenterologists) work with radiologists, pathologists, nurse practitioners and physician assistants to diagnose nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Other specialists who may be part of your team include dietitians, weight-loss (bariatric) specialists and professional counselors to support lifestyle change.
Diagnosis of NAFLD is no longer unusual in children, a group with increasing rates of obesity. Pediatric hepatologists on staff at Mayo Clinic Children's Center and Mayo Eugenio Litta Children's Hospital at Mayo Clinic Hospital, Saint Marys Campus, in Rochester, Minnesota, have experience caring for young people with NAFLD at all stages, including end-stage liver disease requiring transplantation.
Weight-loss surgeons with pediatric expertise are also on staff at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota. If liver transplantation is necessary, transplant surgeons, transplant-focused hepatologists and nurses who coordinate the transplant program join the care team.
Benefits of collaboration
The multidisciplinary approach at Mayo Clinic lets you benefit from the knowledge and experience of each specialist on your care team. Team members collaborate closely in planning each individual's care. This collaboration also means your appointments will be coordinated and your test results will be available quickly. Evaluation and treatment that might take months elsewhere can typically be done in only a matter of days at Mayo Clinic.
Advanced diagnosis and treatment
Diagnosis and staging of NAFLD is a challenge, partly because standard tests often fail to measure the extent of liver damage accurately. At Mayo Clinic, however, state-of-the-art imaging has made the diagnostic process simpler and more reliable than it was less than a decade ago.
Thanks to the introduction of noninvasive liver-imaging techniques, many people being evaluated for possible NAFLD and NASH at Mayo Clinic can avoid liver biopsy. Mayo Clinic researchers developed one of these noninvasive techniques, magnetic resonance elastography (MRE), which measures liver damage more accurately than do other imaging modalities.
Mayo Clinic hepatologists and transplant surgeons have also made innovations in the care of people with obesity, NASH and end-stage liver disease requiring transplantation.
When possible, such people can participate in an intensive weight management program both before and after liver transplantation. Because of these programs, Mayo Clinic can offer liver transplant to select individuals with morbid obesity. Those unable to lose the recommended amount of weight before transplantation may have combined obesity and transplant surgery.
In some instances, weight loss and exercise may be supplemented with weight-loss surgery. Mayo Clinic also offers noninvasive alternatives to gastric bypass and other open weight-loss procedures, which are risky and can leave scarring that interferes with later liver transplantation. These noninvasive procedures — intragastric balloon insertion and endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty — have results comparable to those of gastric bypass surgery, with a fraction of the recovery time and limited risk of scarring.
Expertise and rankings
Leaders in research
Mayo Clinic doctors were the first to identify nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, in a report published in 1980. In the years that followed, Mayo Clinic researchers have made unparalleled advances in both basic science and clinical care related to the disease.
Nationally recognized expertise
Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., ranks No. 1 for digestive disorders in the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals rankings. Mayo Clinic in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Ariz., and Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., are ranked among the Best Hospitals for digestive disorders by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic Children's Center in Rochester is ranked the No. 1 hospital in Minnesota, and the five-state region of Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, according to U.S. News & World Report's 2021-2022 "Best Children's Hospitals" rankings.
Locations, travel and lodging
Mayo Clinic has major campuses in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona; Jacksonville, Florida; and Rochester, Minnesota. The Mayo Clinic Health System has dozens of locations in several states.
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Costs and insurance
Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people.
In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals, or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.
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Please contact your insurance company to verify medical coverage and to obtain any needed authorization prior to your visit. Often, your insurer's customer service number is printed on the back of your insurance card.