If you have a problem with your liver such as a growth, hepatitis, or elevated liver enzymes, you may undergo a liver biopsy. During this procedure, a small needle is used to remove a small amount of tissue from the liver. The sample of tissue is sent to a lab where tests are performed to check for damage to your liver.
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Prior to the procedure, your physician will most likely give you a mild sedative and/or provide an IV (intravenous) antibiotic. A local anesthetic will be given where your doctor will insert a small needle through your abdomen into the liver – this enables him or her to extract a small piece of liver tissue that will be evaluated in a lab. Ultrasound or a CT scan may be used to guide the needle – or your physician may instead tap on your abdomen to determine the best location for the needle to be inserted.
After the biopsy, you will remain lying on your right side for about 2 hours to avoid the risk of bleeding. You will be monitored at the hospital or ambulatory surgery center for an additional 2 to 4 hours. You will need to be driven home by a responsible adult.
You will be given IV (intravenous) sedatives, pain medication and possibly antibiotics. This minimally invasive surgical procedure uses tiny instruments and a lighted camera inserted through very small incisions. Your physician is able to remove a small amount of liver tissue for evaluation in a lab. After the procedure, you will be monitored at the hospital or ambulatory surgery center until the sedative effects wear off. You will need to be driven home by a responsible adult.