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What is Liver Biopsy?
Liver biopsy is a procedure in which tissue samples from the liver are removed and sent for examination and analysis to a laboratory. It is used to diagnose various diseases in the liver. A liver biopsy is also performed to diagnose the cause of liver abnormalities detected in an ultrasound or a CT scan. Additionally, a liver biopsy is done to examine the effectiveness of a therapy that you may be receiving for a liver disease.
What are the different methods of Liver Biopsy?
The different methods of liver biopsy are discussed below:
How to prepare for a liver biopsy?
- Percutaneous Liver Biopsy
In a percutaneous liver biopsy, a needle is inserted through the skin into the liver where a tissue sample from the liver is removed for examination. To establish the area of the liver, the doctor taps on the skin over the liver and listens to the sound. This is done to find a dull area over the liver. In this procedure the patient’s cooperation is highly critical.
- Percutaneous Image-Guided Liver Biopsy
A percutaneous image-guided liver biopsy is performed by inserting a needle into the liver. In this procedure, the needle is viewed and guided by images produced by a CT scan or ultrasound.
- Laparoscopic Liver Biopsy
In a laparoscopic liver biopsy, several incisions are made in the abdomen from where a laparoscope and other instruments are inserted to perform the biopsy. The laparoscope consists of an endoscopic flexible tube with a camera that enables the visualization of the liver on a monitor for viewing. A laparoscopic liver biopsy may be done entirely to extract tissue samples or it may be done as a part of another abdominal surgery.
- Open Surgical Liver Biopsy
An open surgical liver biopsy is rarely done for the sole purpose of a liver biopsy. It may be done if the liver biopsy is a part of another abdominal surgery.
- Transvenous Biopsy
A transvenous biopsy is performed if patients have fluids in the abdomen or blood-clotting problems. During the procedure, a catheter tube is inserted into a vein in the neck which is guided into the liver. The catheter holds a biopsy needle which obtains the tissue sample from the liver.
Duration of procedure/surgery:
- Before the procedure you should inform the doctor about your health conditions and concerns such as:
- Allergies to certain drugs
- Medications that you may be taking
- Bleeding problems
- Heart or lung disease
- You may be required to stop certain medication a week before the procedure if it is advised by your doctor.
- You may be required to take a small dose of sedative before the procedure.
Non-surgical liver biopsy takes approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
Non-surgical liver biopsy liver biopsy is done on an outpatient basis.
Local anesthesia is used for the non-surgical biopsy.
- After the procedure you need to stay in the recovery room for 4 hours under observation.
- You may feel some discomfort and pain in your shoulders and back. A pain medication for this may be prescribed to you.
- It may take several days for your biopsy results to come out, after which your doctor will discuss it with you.
Risks involved in the procedure include:
- Internal bleeding
- Injury to other organs like the gallbladder or kidney
- Collapsed lung
- Sedation complications
- Patients who have had a sedative should not drive, operate machines, or consume alcohol for 24 hours after the procedure.
- The doctor’s instructions should be followed carefully.
- Some medication should be avoided for a week after the procedure.
- You should refrain from vigorous physical activity for a minimum of 24 hours following the biopsy.
Contact the doctor immediately if you have the following symptoms within 72 hours after the liver biopsy:
- Pain in the abdominal region where the liver biopsy was performed
- Chest pain
- Shoulder pain
- Abdominal pain
- Breathing difficulty
Learn more about Liver Biopsy