Why Do I Need a Liver Biopsy?
The liver is a large organ in the upper right portion of the abdomen that aids in digestion and detoxification. It is also important for aiding in efficient blood clotting. There are many reasons why you would need a liver biopsy. If your doctor tells you that you need a liver biopsy, you may feel concerned or scared, but the procedure is very safe and can provide your physician with necessary information to make decisions about your care.
What Is a Biopsy?
A biopsy is a procedure in which a small amount of tissue is extracted to send to a lab for analysis. It is a very common procedure that gives your physician a great deal of insight into what might be happening if you are having health issues. A liver biopsy may be ordered if other lab work, like blood tests, x-rays, or CT scans, come back with abnormal results.
When Are Liver Biopsies Required?
A liver biopsy is a procedure in which a small piece of liver tissue is removed. Health issues that might lead your doctor to order a liver biopsy include jaundice, abdominal pain and swelling, vomiting, and changes in your urine. Your physician may order a liver biopsy if you are having symptoms like these that, combined with other symptoms, indicate the presence of cancer, cirrhosis, or serious digestive issues.
How Is a Liver Biopsy Performed?
While many liver biopsies are performed laparoscopically, the most common form of liver biopsy is a needle biopsy, according to the Mayo Clinic. During a needle biopsy, the physician carefully inserts a needle through your abdomen and into the liver to withdraw cells. Sometimes, if the patient has a bleeding disorder or other risk factors, the biopsy will be performed by running a line through the jugular vein in the neck down to the liver.
What Do Liver Biopsies Reveal?
A liver biopsy can be used to confirm the diagnosis of cirrhosis of the liver, certain types of hepatitis, fatty liver disease, and other diseases. Following a biopsy, the tissue sample will be sent to a lab for analysis. It can take a few weeks to obtain results, but your physician will discuss the results with you and determine the best course of action to take.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment, please contact Gramercy Park Digestive Disease Center.