Liver Biopsy
What is a liver biopsy?Liver
A liver biopsy is a procedure that involves removing a tiny biopsy of liver tissue for microscopic examination.

Do I really need a liver biopsy?
In many cases, a liver biopsy is the most accurate means of determing the cause and/or severity of liver disease or damage to the liver. 

What preparation is required?
Do not eat or drink anything after midnight of the day prior to your biopsy.  If you are taking blood thinning medication, coumadin or aspirin, do not take any for 5 days before your procedure. 

What should I expect during the procedure?
While lying on a cart, the skin over the liver will be numbed with an injection of local anesthetic.  You will be asked to take a few deep breaths, and then hold your breath.  While holding your breath, a tiny piece of liver tissue is obtained by quickly inserting and withdrawing a fine needle into the liver.  This takes only 1 or 2 seconds.  A small bandage or Band-Aid is placed over the site.

What happens after the biopsy is done?
You will be asked to lie on your right side for about 1 hour and remain on bedrest for a total of five (5) hours.  Your blood pressure and pulse will be monitored frequently and the bandage checked often.  When you go home you should rest for the rest of the day and lift nothing heavier than 10 pounds.  You may return to work the day after your liver biopsy.

Are there any complications from a liver biopsy?
The frequency of complications from a liver biopsy is very small.  Complications that may occur include a leak of bile from the gallbladder or liver.  Bleeding may occasionally occur that might require blood transfusions or, rarely, surgery.

When will I know the results of my liver biopsy?
It normally takes 4 to 5 days before the microscopic report of your liver biopsy is received from the laboratory. 


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