Liver Biopsy


The liver is the most vital and largest organ in the human body that is found in the right upper abdomen, behind the ribs. The liver plays very important functions in the human body and some of these include participating in body’s metabolic processes, manufacturing proteins and eliminating the waste products, while it also has a remarkable feature of regenerating itself. Sometimes, different types of conditions occur in the liver while some can even cause permanent damage to the liver. These problems can be virus infections, tumors development or those problems caused by the harmful reaction of alcohol or drugs, hereditary factors and immune system of the body.


For diagnosing the liver condition, the physician reviews the complete medical history of the patient and performs a physical exam. The physician also performs liver function tests (LFT) to review the liver health and if the results of these LFTs are continuously abnormal then more medical studies and tests are conducted. It is important that the particular cause of the problem is detected because only then it can be effectively treated with an appropriate treatment option. The physician performs Liver Biopsy procedure that helps in diagnosing the disorder, its severity and the exact cause of the disorder.


A biopsy is defined as a process of taking a tiny tissue sample of the body and in the case of Liver Biopsy; tissue sample of the liver is taken. This sample is then prepared in the laboratory where the physician views it with a microscope and then performs the analysis. This analysis helps the doctor to diagnose a specific disease and determine the severity of it. This information paves the way to prescribe the right treatment option.


The Liver Biopsy procedure is performed in an outpatient setting which means that the patient doesn’t need to stay in the hospital. Before the procedure, the physician gives a mild sedative to the patient. After that, usually, the physician identifies the appropriate area where the biopsy is performed with the physical examination or sometimes, ultrasound or echo machine is used for it. Then, the patient is asked to lie down on the back or slightly on the left side. The physician cleans the area of the skin and applies a local anesthetic agent on it so that the skin and tissue behind it become numb. After that, a very thin needle specifically designed for this biopsy is inserted through the targeted area. At this point, the patient is advised by the physician about how to breathe. The needle is inserted into and then taken out of the liver while removing a tiny slender sample of tissue. This sample is then sent to the laboratory for examination and analysis. The entire process of Liver Biopsy usually takes 15-20 minutes.


After the exam, the patient sends to the recovery room where he/she is carefully administered by medical personnel while blood pressure and heart rate of the patient is also monitored. The patient may feel a little discomfort in the shoulder or chest but it is temporary and medication is also available for the discomfort if needed. The doctor gives the instructions to the patient about returning to normal routine activities and also about eating routine. Although the patient is advised to limit the activities for 1-2 days after the exam, the liver biopsy recovery time is not long.


In most cases, the biopsy can be performed effectively without any complications. Sometimes, complications may occur that include fleeting discomfort in the right side on shoulder or chest, internal bleeding and a leakage of bile from the gallbladder or liver. But all of these complications occur very rarely and they don’t require any major surgery for treating them.


Liver Biopsy is the simple and a quick procedure used to get the sample of liver tissue for the analysis. The information provided by this analysis of the sample help the physician to evaluate and treat the underlying liver disorder. The benefits of Liver Biopsy outweigh the risks and possible complications that occur very rarely. The timely, specific and effective treatment that is given for the liver disorder through the diagnosis made from Liver Biopsy helps in preventing the irreversible damage to the liver.

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