Your doctor has referred you for a liver biopsy. The procedure involves
passing a needle into the liver to obtain a tissue sample to be examined under
the microscope. In some instances of liver disease, the only way to
understand what kind of liver problem is occuring is to obtain a liver biopsy
You should not eat or drink anything after midnight the day prior to the
procedure. Medications should be taken on the day of the test.
I f you are taking INSULIN take only ½ your normal
insulin dose on the morning of the exam. DO NOT take your DIABETES PILL on the morning of the exam. You are
to avoid any product containing aspirin or any aspirin like products (Motrin
® , Aleve ® , Advil ® , etc.) for 1 week prior to the procedure.
Contact your physician for any questions. Please
check your blood sugar at home before coming for the test.
How the Examination is Performed:
On the day of the procedure, please arrive at the clinic approximately 45
minutes prior to your scheduled time. If you do not have a current University
Hospital (yellow) card, you must register on the C-Level at the
Registration Desk. Once you have a yellow card, you should go to E-178
[Medical Special Procedures] and sign in with the receptionist. You
will be brought into the examining room and a nurse will explain the procedure
to you. Your consent will be obtained. You will be asked to change
into a gown. The physician will speak with you and examine you briefly.
The most common way a liver sample is obtained is by inserting a needle into
the liver for a fraction of a second. The physician determines the best site,
depth, and angle of the needle puncture by physical examination or ultrasound.
The skin and area under the skin are anesthetized, and a needle is passed
quickly into and out of the liver. Approximately half of individuals have
no pain afterwards, while another half will experience brief localized pain
that may spread to the right shoulder. You will be required to lie on
your right side for approximately one hour and then you will be monitored
for an additional 3 hours. Afterwards, the patient will be allowed to
go home the same day.
Risks of Liver Biopsy:
The primary risk of liver biopsy is bleeding from the site of needle entry
into the liver, although this occurs in less than 1% of patients. Other possible
complications include the puncture of other organs, such as the kidney, lung
or colon. Biopsy, by mistake, of the gallbladder rather than the liver may
be associated with leakage of bile into the abdominal cavity, causing peritonitis.
Fortunately, the risk of death from liver biopsy is extremely low, ranging
from 0.1% to 0.01%. If you have any problems after your liver biopsy,
please notify the physician who performed this examination by calling (973)