Liver Biopsy



A biopsy of the liver is a surgical procedure in which a small amount of liver tissue is removed through surgery so it can be analyzed in the laboratory by a pathologist.

Liver biopsies are commonly done to detect the presence of abnormal cells in the liver, like cancer cells, or to consider disease processes such as cirrhosis. Your doctor may order this test if blood or imaging tests indicate there are issues with your liver.

The liver is an important organ. It produces proteins and enzymes that cause essential metabolic processes, removes contaminants from your blood, helps fight infection, and stores vital vitamins and nutrients. Problems with your liver can make you very sick or result in death.

Reason for a Liver Biopsy

Your doctor may order a biopsy to assist in finding out if an area is infected, inflamed, or cancerous. Signs and symptoms that your doctor would test for include:

Continual abdominal pain

Right upper quadrant abdominal mass

Digestive system issues

Laboratory tests pointing to the liver as a place of concern

A liver biopsy is typically performed if you receive abnormal results from other liver tests, have a tumour or mass on your liver, or suffer from regular, unexplainable fevers.

While imaging tests like CT scans and X-rays can help perceive areas of concern, they can’t distinguish between cancerous and noncancerous cells. For this, you require a biopsy.

Although biopsies are usually related to cancer, it doesn’t mean you have cancer if your doctor orders this test. Biopsies also allow doctors to see if a condition other than cancer is making you have the symptoms.

A liver biopsy can be used to diagnose or determine a quantity of liver disorders. Conditions that have an effect on the liver and may require a biopsy include:

Autoimmune hepatitis

Chronic hepatitis (B or C)

Hemochromatosis (too much iron in the blood)

Alcoholic liver disease

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (FLD)

Primary biliary cirrhosis (which leads to scarring on the liver)

Prime sclerosing cholangitis (which affects the liver’s bile ducts)

Wilson’s disease

The Risks of a Liver Biopsy

Any medical procedure that has to do with cutting the skin carries the risk of infection and bleeding. The incision for a liver biopsy is small and needle biopsies are less invasive, so the danger is much lower.

How to Prepare for a Liver Biopsy

Biopsies do not need much preparation on the side of the patient. Based on your condition, your doctor may ask you to:

Stay away from liquid or food for up to eight hours before the procedure

Organize for someone to drive you home

Have a break from taking any medications that affect bleeding, including pain relievers,

Anticoagulants and certain supplements

Take a blood sample for a blood test

How a Liver Biopsy Is Done

Prior to the procedure, you will dress in a hospital robe. Your doctor will give you a sedative through an intravenous (IV) line to make you relax.

We have three main kinds of liver biopsies.

Percutaneous: Also referred to as a needle biopsy, this biopsy includes putting a thin needle through the abdomen and into the liver. This is the most frequent type of liver biopsy.

Transjugular: This procedure is making a small incision at the neck. A thin plastic tube is inserted through the neck’s jugular vein and into the liver. This procedure is used for people who have bleeding disorders.

Laparoscopic: This procedure makes use of tube-like instruments that collect the sample through a small incision in the abdomen.

The form of anaesthesia your doctor gives you will be based on which type of liver biopsy they do. The percutaneous and transjugular biopsies use local anaesthesia, this implies that only the affected area is numbed. Laparoscopic biopsies need general anaesthesia, so you’ll be in a deep, painless sleep all through the procedure.

When your biopsy is completed, any incision wounds will be closed with stitches and properly bandaged. You will have to lie in bed for a few hours after the procedure whilst doctors observe your vital signs.

After a Liver Biopsy

After the tissue sample is taken, it will be dispatched to a laboratory for testing. This could take up to a few weeks.

When the results are brought, your doctor will call you or ask you in for a follow-up appointment to share the results. Once a prognosis is reached, your doctor will discuss any recommended treatment plans or subsequent steps with you.







DisclaimerThe information provided herein is for patient general knowledge only and should not be used during any medical emergency, or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Duplication for personal and commercial use must be authorized in writing by

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