BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuLiver biopsyBiopsy - liver; Percutaneous liver biopsy; Needle biopsy of liverA liver biopsy is a test that takes a sample of tissue from the liver for examination.BiopsyA biopsy is the removal of a small piece of tissue for laboratory examination.Read Article Now Book Mark Article How the Test is Performed Most of the time, the test is done in the hospital. 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 still as you can. The health care provider 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, 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 the procedure is performed this way, you will lie on your back. X-rays will be used to guide the provider 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 provider about:Bleeding problems Drug allergies Medicines you are taking including herbs, supplements, or medicines you bought without a prescription Whether you are 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 to eat or drink anything for the 8 hours before the test.For infants and children:The preparation needed for a child depends on the child's age and maturity. Your child's provider will tell you what you can do to prepare your child for this test. How the Test will Feel You will feel a stinging pain when the anesthetic is injected. The biopsy needle may feel like deep pressure and dull pain. Some people feel this pain in the shoulder. Why the Test is Performed The biopsy helps diagnose many liver diseases. The procedure also helps assess the stage (early, advanced) of liver disease. This is especially important in hepatitis B and C infection.Liver diseasesThe term "liver disease" applies to many conditions that stop the liver from working or prevent it from functioning well. Abdominal pain, yellowing ...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article 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 enlargement Normal Results The liver tissue is normal. What Abnormal Results Mean The biopsy may reveal a number of liver diseases, including cirrhosis, hepatitis, or infections such as tuberculosis. It may also indicate cancer.CirrhosisCirrhosis is scarring of the liver and poor liver function. It is the last stage of chronic liver disease.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article HepatitisHepatitis is swelling and inflammation of the liver.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article TuberculosisPulmonary tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious bacterial infection that involves the lungs. It may spread to other organs.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article This test also may be performed for:Alcoholic liver disease (fatty liver, hepatitis, or cirrhosis) Alcoholic liver disease Alcoholic liver disease is damage to the liver and its function due to alcohol abuse.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Amebic liver abscess Amebic liver abscessAmebic liver abscess is a collection of pus in the liver in response to an intestinal parasite called Entamoeba histolytica.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Autoimmune hepatitis Autoimmune hepatitisAutoimmune hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. It occurs when immune cells mistake the liver's normal cells for harmful invaders and attack them...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Biliary atresia Biliary atresiaBiliary atresia is a blockage in the tubes (ducts) that carry a liquid called bile from the liver to the gallbladder.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Chronic active hepatitis Chronic persistent hepatitis Disseminated coccidioidomycosis Disseminated coccidioidomycosisValley fever is an infection that occurs when the spores of the fungus Coccidioides immitis enter your body through the lungs.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Hemochromatosis HemochromatosisHemochromatosis is a condition in which there is too much iron in the body. It is also called iron overload.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Hepatitis B Hepatitis BHepatitis B is irritation and swelling (inflammation) of the liver due to infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Other types of viral hepatitis ...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Hepatitis C Hepatitis CHepatitis C is a viral disease that leads to swelling (inflammation) of the liver. Other types of viral hepatitis include:Hepatitis AHepatitis BHepat...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Hepatitis D Hepatitis DHepatitis D is a viral infection caused by the hepatitis D virus (previously called the Delta agent). It causes symptoms only in people who also hav...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Hepatocellular carcinoma Hepatocellular carcinomaHepatocellular carcinoma is cancer that starts in the liver.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Hodgkin lymphoma Hodgkin lymphomaHodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of lymph tissue. Lymph tissue is found in the lymph nodes, spleen, liver, bone marrow, and other sites.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease Non-alcoholic fatty liver diseaseNonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the buildup of fat in the liver that is NOT caused by drinking too much alcohol. People who have it do n...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Non-Hodgkin lymphoma Non-Hodgkin lymphomaNon-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is cancer of the lymph tissue. Lymph tissue is found in the lymph nodes, spleen, and other organs of the immune system. W...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Pyogenic liver abscess Pyogenic liver abscessPyogenic liver abscess is a pus-filled pocket of fluid within the liver. Pyogenic means producing pus.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Reye syndrome Reye syndromeReye syndrome is sudden (acute) brain damage and liver function problems. This condition does not have a known cause. This syndrome has occurred in ...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Sclerosing cholangitis Sclerosing cholangitisSclerosing cholangitis refers to swelling (inflammation), scarring, and destruction of the bile ducts inside and outside of the liver.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Primary biliary cholangitis Wilson diseaseWilson diseaseWilson disease is an inherited disorder in which there is too much copper in the body's tissues. The excess copper damages the liver and nervous sys...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Risks Risks may include:Collapsed lung Collapsed lungA collapsed lung occurs when air escapes from the lung. The air then fills the space outside of the lung between the lung and chest wall. This buil...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Complications from the sedation Injury to the gallbladder or kidney Internal bleeding Open ReferencesReferencesBedossa P, Paradis V, Zucman-Rossi J. Cellular and molecular techniques. In: Burt AD, Ferrell LD, Hubscher SG, eds. MacSween's Pathology of the Liver. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 2.Chernecky CC, Berger BJ. Liver biopsy (percutaneous liver biopsy) - diagnostic. In: Chernecky CC, Berger BJ, eds. Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures. 6th ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:727-729.Holmes JA, Chung RT. Hepatitis C. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 80.Martin P. Approach to the patient with liver disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 137.AllVideoImagesTogLiver biopsy - illustration A liver biopsy is not a routine procedure, but is performed when it is necessary to determine the presence of liver disease and to look for malignancy, cysts, parasites, or other pathology. The actual procedure is only slightly uncomfortable. Most of the discomfort arises from being required to lie still for several hours afterwards to prevent bleeding from the biopsy site.Liver biopsyillustrationLiver biopsy - illustration A liver biopsy is not a routine procedure, but is performed when it is necessary to determine the presence of liver disease and to look for malignancy, cysts, parasites, or other pathology. The actual procedure is only slightly uncomfortable. Most of the discomfort arises from being required to lie still for several hours afterwards to prevent bleeding from the biopsy site.Liver biopsyillustration Tests for Liver biopsy Liver biopsyBiopsy - biliary tractLiver scanRelated Information Liver disease(Condition)Cirrhosis(Condition)Hepatitis(Condition)Pulmonary tuberculosis(Condition)Alcoholic liver disease(Condition)Amebic liver abscess(Condition)Autoimmune hepatitis(Condition)Biliary atresia(Condition)Hepatitis D (Delta agent)(Condition)Hemochromatosis(Condition)Cirrhosis(In-Depth)Hepatitis(In-Depth)Hodgkin disease(In-Depth) Review Date: 1/14/2021 Reviewed By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. 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