A liver biopsy is a medical procedure in which a small sample of liver tissue is removed and examined under a microscope. The procedure is usually performed using a long, thin needle that is inserted through the skin and into the liver.
Liver biopsies are usually done to evaluate liver function, diagnose liver conditions (such as liver disease or liver cancer), or monitor the effectiveness of treatment for liver conditions. The procedure is typically performed in a hospital or outpatient facility by a trained healthcare provider, such as a doctor or nurse.
Before the procedure, you will be asked to lie on your back on an examination table. The healthcare provider will clean the area of your skin where the needle will be inserted and numb it with a local anesthetic to reduce discomfort. You may be given a sedative to help you relax during the procedure.
During the procedure, the healthcare provider will insert the needle through your skin and into the liver, using ultrasound or CT images to guide the needle to the correct location. A small sample of liver tissue will be removed through the needle and sent to a laboratory for analysis. The entire procedure takes about 20 to 30 minutes.
After the procedure, you will be asked to lie on your back for about an hour to allow the puncture site to heal. You may feel some mild discomfort or tenderness at the site for a few days. Your doctor will discuss the results of the biopsy with you at a follow-up appointment.
Frequently asked questions about liver biopsy:
Q: Is a liver biopsy painful?
A: You may feel some discomfort during the procedure, but the area will be numbed with a local anesthetic to minimize pain. You may also be given a sedative to help you relax during the procedure.
Q: Do I need to prepare for a liver biopsy?
A: Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for the procedure. This may include fasting for a certain period of time before the procedure, avoiding certain medications, and arranging for someone to drive you home after the procedure. It is important to follow these instructions to ensure that the procedure goes smoothly.
Q: How long does a liver biopsy take?
A: The procedure typically takes about 20 to 30 minutes to complete.
Q: Will I need to stay in the hospital after a liver biopsy?
A: In most cases, you will be able to go home after the procedure. However, your doctor may recommend that you stay in the hospital for a short period of time if you have a serious liver condition or if you are at high risk for complications.
The exceptional team at Digestive & Liver Health Specialists has years of experience providing customized liver disease treatment plans that include biopsies. Schedule an appointment online now to discuss your options.