Liver Biopsy

Your digestive and metabolic wellbeing is determined by the health of your liver. Our doctors work with you to provide efficient and comprehensive liver biopsies in order to detect, locate and treat liver conditions and improve your overall quality of life.

A biopsy is a procedure used to remove tissue from an area of concern in the body. The extracted tissue is examined by interventional specialists to determine the presence or cause of a disease.

Liver biopsies are often performed to determine the cause of abnormal liver function, swelling of the liver, or jaundice. They are also used to evaluate the effects of cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.

Liver biopsy procedures are minimally invasive and are performed using local anesthesia. Because you are awake during the procedure, an IV line will be placed, and you will be given sedatives should you need them.

During the procedure, your doctor will ask you to lie on the operating table. Because the liver is located on the right side of your body (at about where your ribcage ends), your doctor will ask you to lift your right arm up above your head.

Your doctor will use an ultrasound to help locate the liver and determine the precise point to place the anesthetic. Once your skin and liver have numbed, your doctor will carefully insert the biopsy needle into your liver and extract tissue from the suspicious area.

After your biopsy procedure, a pathologist examines the extracted tissue specimen to detect abnormalities. If cancer is present, the pathologist can then look at the cancer’s characteristics and formulate a precise diagnosis.

At Providence, our surgeons, nurses, and caregivers work to ensure your procedure is done in a comfortable and relaxing environment to avoid complications.

Liver biopsies are outpatient procedures. Generally, most patients are able to leave the hospital about four hours after their biopsy. Still, the procedure involves various minor risks and complications. These complications include infection, bleeding, bruising, or swelling of the injection site.