A liver biopsy procedure is an examination of the liver tissue through a live sampling of the tissue. It’s usually done to determine the cause or stage of a disease like cancer in the liver. Biopsies can also be completed to detect the presence of parasites, cysts and malignancies in the liver. Liver biopsy procedures are generally very safe. Only about 1% of patients experienced complications during one study.
3 things to expect during a liver biopsy procedure
- It’s most commonly done through a localized needle sampling — The most common method of performing a liver biopsy is by inserting a hollow needle through the skin and into the liver so that a sample of liver tissue can be collected inside the needle upon removal from the body. Other methods may include inserting a catheter or performing an endoscopy.
- It’s relatively painless — Before your physician performs the needle sampling, they will use localized anesthesia to numb the area. You may feel pressure or discomfort when the hollow needle is inserted into the liver, and some people report soreness for a couple of days after the procedure. However, your care provider will send you home with pain medicine, which should alleviate any discomfort you may feel.
- Blood tests prior to biopsy are usually conducted — Before the actual liver biopsy procedure is completed, your physician will likely recommend that you undergo a blood test. The test is meant to determine if you’re more at risk for blood clotting, in which case the needle sampling might not be the best method for performing the biopsy. Your digestive health specialist or physician may perform your biopsy by using a catheter if you are more prone to blood clotting.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to Center for Digestive Health with any further questions!
Still wondering what other things you should know about a liver biopsy procedure? Are you not sure why you might need one, or maybe you are looking for more information or have other digestive health questions? Please don’t wait to reach out to one of our team members for help. Our team of GI specialists has the training and experience to answer any questions you may have. They can also help you find the most effective treatments for your conditions and for common GI issues.
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