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Liver Biopsy

A liver biopsy is a procedure to remove a small piece of liver tissue so it can be examined under a microscope for signs of damage or disease. It may also be done to determine the severity of disease, which helps your doctor plan your treatment, as well as determine the effectiveness or success of treatment.

Indications
Your doctor may recommend a biopsy if your liver has an abnormality of unknown cause or if a liver mass was detected on imaging tests. It is also commonly used to diagnose and stage nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, chronic hepatitis, alcoholic liver disease, primary biliary cirrhosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, hemochromatosis, and Wilson’s disease.
  • Pain at the biopsy site is a common complication after liver biopsy. You may experience tightness in your abdomen or pain that radiates to your right shoulder. These are usually mildly uncomfortable. You can take painkiller medication to manage this pain, if needed.
  • Infection, which can be treated effectively with antibiotics.
  • Excessive bleeding that requires transfusion and accidental injury to a nearby organ, such as the gallbladder or a lung, occur in less than 1 out of 1,000 patients. More serious complications that can result in death occur in less than 1 out of 10,000 patients.
If you plan to travel abroad after the procedure, please talk to your doctor before making any travel arrangements. Normally, traveling is not allowed for 24 hours after the procedure.
 
Noninvasive screening with serum markers, or indicators in the blood, can identify patients at risk for liver fibrosis. Fibrotest, an indirect serum marker panel is the most widely used and validated serum marker panel used worldwide.

Ultrasound has been used for noninvasive investigation of liver, for detection of focal lesions, assessment the degree of liver fibrosis, description of thrombosis of the portal vein. FibroScan or electrography imaging is helpful to assess the level of liver fibrosis or cirrhosis, to monitor the severity of disease to determine the treatment plan, and to diagnose complications in patients with cirrhosis.
 

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