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A procedure to remove a small piece of liver tissue, so it can be examined under a microscope for signs of damage or disease.
Your doctor may recommend a liver biopsy if blood tests or imaging studies suggest you might have a liver problem.
A liver biopsy is also used to determine the severity of liver disease. This information helps guide treatment decisions.
The most common type of liver biopsy is called percutaneous liver biopsy. It involves inserting a thin needle through your abdomen into the liver and removing a small piece of tissue. Two other types of liver biopsy — one using a vein in the neck (transjugular) and the other using a small abdominal incision (laparoscopic) — also remove liver tissue with a needle.
A liver biopsy may be done to:
Your doctor may recommend a liver biopsy if you have:
A liver biopsy also is commonly performed to help diagnose and stage certain liver diseases, including:
What you can expect during your liver biopsy will depend on the type of procedure you’ll undergo. A percutaneous liver biopsy is the most common type of liver biopsy, but it isn’t an option for everyone. Your doctor may recommend a different form of liver biopsy if you:
A liver biopsy is done at a hospital or outpatient center. You’ll likely arrive early in the morning.
Just before your biopsy you will:
The steps involved in liver biopsy vary according to the type:
After the biopsy, you can expect to:
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