A liver biopsy is a safe and quick procedure that takes around five minutes to complete. You may, however, be asked to lie on the bed for two hours after the procedure and take it easy for the next 24 hours.
What happens during a liver biopsy?
A liver biopsy is a medical procedure in which a small piece of liver tissue is collected and examined under the microscope. This is the most accurate procedure to diagnose medical conditions related to the liver. Percutaneous liver biopsy is the commonest method for liver biopsy in which a long needle (called biopsy needle) is inserted through the skin of the abdomen to collect liver tissue. The tissue is examined in a laboratory under the microscope.
Before the procedure: Your doctor may:
- Order some blood tests and imaging studies.
- Ask you about any chronic health conditions.
- Ask you about any medications you are on.
- Ask about any allergies you may have.
- Explain the biopsy procedure in detail, including possible complications, and address your doubts and concerns related to the procedure.
- Obtain your written consent.
- Ask you to not eat anything for at least eight hours before the procedure.
During the procedure:
- You will be asked to wear a hospital gown.
- You will lie with your right side near the edge of the bed with your right arm above the head and the feet angled across.
- The doctor administers local anesthesia.
- You may be given intravenous medicine to keep you sedated during the procedure.
- The doctor will clean the area on your upper abdomen and make a small surgical cut (the incision).
- He will insert a needle with a large bore into this incision to take a small sample of liver tissue for analysis (this instrument is also called a biopsy gun).
- The incision is then closed with an adhesive bandage and dressing is done.
- You will be asked to lie on your right side for about two hours.
- The doctor or nurse will regularly record your vitals and look for any complications.
Who needs a liver biopsy?
A liver biopsy may be performed in situations such as:
- Abnormal liver test results
- Liver infections such as chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C
- Autoimmune hepatitis (a condition in which the body’s immune system causes liver damage)
- Liver mass to rule out cancer
- Estimation of iron levels in hemochromatosis (a type of iron storage disease)
- Estimation of copper levels in Wilson’s disease (an inherited disease of copper metabolism)
- Alcoholic liver disease
- Evaluation of drug toxicity
- Evaluation of the donor suitability for liver transplant
- Diagnosis and staging of fatty liver diseases
- Evaluation of unexplained jaundice
- Diagnosis of cholestatic liver disease (diseases in which there is a hindrance to the normal flow of secretions or juices from the liver)
- Evaluation of liver injury due to drugs
A liver biopsy may be performed to evaluate the response to treatment in situations like:
- Follow-up evaluation while on treatment for chronic hepatitis C.
- Monitoring treatment response in case of autoimmune hepatitis.
A liver biopsy may be performed in case of a liver transplant recipient to:
- Diagnose acute rejection.
- Diagnose chronic rejection.
- Diagnose recurrent hepatitis C.
- Diagnose other posttransplant diseases and infections.
Also, in protocol biopsies to monitor in patients who received liver transplants to treat liver failure in chronic hepatitis C.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top How Long Does a Liver Biopsy Procedure Take? Related Articles
Carbaglu (carglumic acid)Carbaglu (carglumic acid) is a man-made form of a liver enzyme used to treat hyperammonemia, a urea cycle disorder caused by lack of a certain liver enzyme. Carbaglu is usually given with other medications to treat this lifelong disorder. Common side effects of Carbaglu include vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, headache, stuffy nose, sore throat, ear infection, changes in sense of taste, fever, infection, flu symptoms, weight loss, sleepiness, and skin rash.
Cholbam (cholic acid)Cholbam (cholic acid) is a bile acid used to treat bile acid synthesis disorders due to single enzyme defects (SEDs). It is also used for adjunctive treatment of peroxisomal disorders (PDs) including Zellweger spectrum disorders in patients who exhibit manifestations of liver disease, steatorrhea or complications from decreased fat-soluble vitamin absorption.
Doptelet (avatrombopag)Doptelet is a prescription medicine used to treat low blood platelet counts in adults with long-lasting (chronic) liver disease (CLD) or chronic immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). Serious side effects of Doptelet include blood clots.
Liver QuizDo you know the symptoms of liver disease? What is hepatitis? Take this quiz to learn about your liver and how to keep it healthy.
Givlaari (givosiran)Givlaari (givosiran) is a prescription medication used to treat adults with acute hepatic porphyria (AHP). Serious side effects of Givlaari include anaphylactic reaction, hepatic toxicity, renal toxicity, and injection site reactions.
14 Best and Worst Foods for Your LiverGet some simple diet tips to keep your liver healthy, including the best veggies to keep disease away and some snacks you'll want to avoid.
Liver BiopsyLiver biopsy is a procedure used to remove a small piece of liver tissue for examination for signs of disease or damage to the liver. Preparation for liver biopsy includes discontinuing certain medications. The techniques used to perform liver biopsy include percutaneous liver biopsy, transvenous liver biopsy, and laparoscopic liver biopsy. Recovery from liver biopsy are generally one to two days. Certain risks are associated with liver biopsy.
Liver PictureFront View of the Liver. The liver is a large, meaty organ that sits on the right side of the belly. See a picture of the Liver and learn more about the health topic.
What Are Signs That Your Liver Is Not Functioning Properly?Liver pain can be a sign that you have a serious health problem like cirrhosis or liver cancer. Find out more about what could be causing your liver pain and how to treat it.