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Liver Biopsy

Brief Description – A liver biopsy is a test that takes a sample of tissue from the liver for examination.

Why the Test is Performed

The Liver biopsy helps diagnose many liver diseases. It also helps assess the stage (early, advanced) of liver disease. This is especially important in hepatitis C infection. The biopsy also helps detect:

  •  Cancer
  •  Infections
  •  The cause of abnormal levels of liver enzymes that have been found in blood tests
  •  The cause of an unexplained liver enlargementHow the Test is Performed
  • Before the test is done, you may be given a medicine to prevent pain or to calm you (sedative).
  • The biopsy may be done through the abdominal wall.
  • You will lie on your back with your right hand under your head. You need to stay as stillas you can.
  • The doctor will find the correct spot for the biopsy needle to be inserted into the liver.
  • This is often done by using ultrasound. The skin is cleaned, and numbing medicine is injected into the area using a small needle. A small cut is made at spot, and the biopsy needle is inserted.
  • You will be told to hold your breath while the biopsy is taken. This is to reduce the chance of damage to the lung or liver. The needle is removed quickly.
  • Pressure will be applied to stop the bleeding. A bandage is placed over the insertion site.The procedure can also be done by inserting a needle into the jugular vein. If it is performed this way, you will lie on your back. X-rays will be used to guide the doctor to the vein. A special needle and catheter (thin tube) is used to take the biopsy sample. If you receive sedation for this test, you will need someone to drive you home.

    How to Prepare For the Test

Tell your doctor if you have bleeding problems, drug allergies or medications you are taking. Also tell him or her if you are pregnant or suspect that you might be pregnant. You must sign a consent form.

Blood tests are sometimes done to test your blood’s ability to clot. You will be told not eat or drink anything for the 8 hours before the test.

During the Test

You will feel a stinging pain when the anaesthetic is injected. The biopsy needle may feel like deep pressure and dull pain. Some people feel this pain in the shoulder.

After the Test

You will feel sore at the puncture site after the procedure. You might need to take paracetamol

for the days.


Pain. Make sure you have someone to drive you home and rest well for the next 2 to 3

Collapsed lung
Complications from the sedation Injury to the gallbladder or kidney Internal bleeding

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