Chronic hepatitis is accompanied by progressive deposit of hepatic fibrosis, which may lead to cirrhosis. Evaluation of liver fibrosis is, thus, of great clinical interest and, up to now, has been assessed with liver biopsy. This work aims to evaluate a new noninvasive device to quantify liver fibrosis: the shear elasticity probe or fibroscan. This device is based on one-dimensional (1-D) transient elastography, a technique that uses both ultrasound (US) (5 MHz) and low-frequency (50 Hz) elastic waves, whose propagation velocity is directly related to elasticity. The intra- and interoperator reproducibility of the technique, as well as its ability to quantify liver fibrosis, were evaluated in 106 patients with chronic hepatitis C. Liver elasticity measurements were reproducible (standardized coefficient of variation: 3%), operator-independent and well correlated (partial correlation coefficient = 0.71, p < < 0.0001) to fibrosis grade (METAVIR). The areas under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were 0.88 and 0.99 for the diagnosis of patients with significant fibrosis (>/= F2) and with cirrhosis ( = F4), respectively. The Fibroscan is a noninvasive, painless, rapid and objective method to quantify liver fibrosis.