Liver Biopsy

A liver biopsy is a procedure in which a doctor removes a small part of your liver to examine for signs of diseases and conditions, such as cancer. This procedure is considered a hepatobiliary surgery; the hepatobiliary tract consists of the liver, gallbladder and bile ducts.

Here’s how liver biopsy works, what to expect and how to contact Advanced Laparoscopic Associates if you think you need this procedure.

What Is a Liver Biopsy?

A biopsy is a procedure in which a small sample of cells or tissue is removed from your body so it can be tested and evaluated in a lab. A liver biopsy involves removing a small piece of your liver tissue so it can be checked for signs of damage and disease.

Why Would You Need a Liver Biopsy?

A liver biopsy is usually performed when a liver condition is suspected and your doctor cannot diagnose your condition using imaging or blood tests. This procedure may be performed if you have:

  • Jaundice
  • An enlarged liver
  • Test results that suggest you have liver disease

A liver biopsy can also provide more information about the severity of a liver condition and help your doctor determine which liver treatments may benefit you the most.

What Are the Different Types Of Liver Biopsy?

There are three types of liver biopsy:

  • Percutaneous
  • Transjugular
  • Surgical

A percutaneous liver biopsy is the most common biopsy method for the liver. During this procedure, your doctor will insert a small, fine needle through your skin and into the upper part of your abdomen to retrieve a small piece of liver tissue.

During a transjugular liver biopsy, your doctor will extract a small sample of liver tissue via the jugular vein in your neck using a needle. According to the National Institutes of Health, transjugular liver biopsy is usually only performed in those for whom percutaneous liver biopsy is not recommended, such as those with blood clot issues.

A surgical biopsy is usually only performed if you are having surgery for other reasons. During this procedure, your doctor will surgically remove a small piece of liver tissue during open or laparoscopic surgery.

How to Prepare for a Liver Biopsy

Your doctor will give you detailed instructions on how to prepare for your liver biopsy before the day of your appointment.

First, your doctor will ask you to provide a list of all medications and nutritional supplements you are taking. You may be asked to stop certain medications and supplements that can interfere with sedatives or cause blood clotting.

Next, your doctor may order blood and imaging tests to learn more about the way your blood clots and to identify the best place in which to insert the needle for your biopsy.

Some doctors may ask you to fast for several hours before your biopsy or limit yourself to small snacks. Your doctor may also require that you make travel arrangements to and from your appointment, as it will not be safe for you to drive on your own after taking sedatives.

What To Expect After a Liver Biopsy

After your liver biopsy procedure, you may be asked to rest and refrain from any strenuous activity for up to one week. You may feel some soreness at the site where the needle went in and be prescribed bed rest for up to 24 hours. Your doctor will ask you to report symptoms of infection immediately. Here are common signs of infection:

  • Fever
  • Warmth
  • Bleeding, swelling or drainage at the needle insertion site

Results will usually come in during the week of your liver biopsy recovery. Your doctor may call you to discuss your results and your available treatment options, if applicable.

Request an appointment with Advanced Laparoscopic Associates today or call (201) 646-1121 if you think you may need a liver biopsy. We can perform an evaluation, discuss your condition and talk to you about all your available treatment options.

For additional information, all prospective patients are invited to attend a free educational seminar.
Seminars are a great source of information about the procedure you are considering, and they allow you to meet the surgeons as well as ask any questions you may have. You may also have the opportunity to meet some post-operative patients.

Seminar Sign-up

Call (201) 646-1121 today and schedule your consultation with one of our surgeons!


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