Test: Liver Biopsy

In a liver biopsy, a sample of tissue is removed from the liver to diagnose a variety of disorders, including cirrhosis, hepatitis, and cancer. This procedure is performed in hospital under local anaesthesia and the sample is sent to a laboratory for microscopic examination. You will need to remain in bed for up to 6 hours afterwards, lying on your right side at first to prevent bleeding. The biopsy site may be tender for a few days.

During the procedure

A hollow needle is inserted into the liver through a small incision between the right lower ribs. A sample of tissue is collected. You will be asked to exhale and stay completely still until the needle is withdrawn.




This magnified view of a sample of liver tissue shows normal liver cells surrounded by bands of fibrous scar tissue. Such an appearance is typical of the damage caused by cirrhosis.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

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