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All You Need to Know About Liver Biopsy



What is a Liver Biopsy Test?


A liver biopsy is a test in which a small sample of the liver is collected by inserting a needle to further carry out the diagnosis process. This sample may be analyzed in the laboratory to find out any complications in the liver. The liver is an important part of our system located in the top right corner of the abdomen. It is known to be the largest solid organ of the human body.


Our liver performs many essential functions on a daily basis. The most important feature of this organ is that it manufactures bile, a digestive juice necessary for taking out the digestion process. Along with that the liver also stores sugar in the body in the kind of glycogen. The liver further helps the body in making vital proteins that are necessary for carrying oxygen. These proteins also help our immune system and the blood clotting process.


Another important function that the liver carries out is to detoxify our body from harmful intoxicating substances such as alcohol and drugs by purifying them out of our bloodstream. The liver also stores various nutrients our body gets from the food we intake and gives it back to the bloodstream all over our system. It is also known for breaking down fat and manufacturing cholesterol in the body.


A liver biopsy test is typically performed to find out the abnormalities with the organ. This also determines the stage of damage the liver has reached. The liver biopsy procedure can also be done at times to find out the causes behind a few situations. This may include inexplicable magnification of the liver, the reason behind jaundice, or a malfunction found out through the CT scan test or X-Ray. A liver biopsy test is also executed to find out the reason behind the excessive amount of liver enzymes.


Liver Biopsy Procedure


Three are broadly three ways to perform a liver biopsy.

  • Percutaneous is a liver biopsy procedure in which a needle is used to take out the sample through the abdominal region or in between the spaces of the lower rib cage.
  • Another way to take out the liver sample is to insert a thin needle in the neck through a blood vessel named the jugular vein. Once the needle is inserted, a catheter is sent far along to fetch the sample. This method is typically used for those who have problems such as pressure management and blood clotting.
  • The third method to extract a sample out of the liver is the surgical method. This process is called laparoscopy. A thin tube with a camera is inserted into the body and the needle is sent inside through the tube to extract the sample. However, this liver biopsy method is used when the patient is already laid down for the laparoscopic process regarding something else. It is very rare to use this surgical method for taking out the sample alone.

The first and second methods of sample extraction will depend on the patient’s condition.


Before, During, and After Liver Biopsy


Before the process starts, the medical professional will discuss all the aspects of the liver biopsy and liver biopsy cost. It is important to understand how the test will be going on to have a sense of relief throughout. Usually, patients who have to go undergo this process are advised to not eat or drink anything four to six hours before the course of action. 


You may also be given sedatives to calm you down during the entire method so it is important to go along with a family member or a friend. What goes on during the progression depends on whether the doctor has advised you to go for percutaneous or transvenous. 


In both conditions, you will be required to lie down on your back and stay as still as you can. In the first scenario, a thin needle will be inserted through your upper abdomen after determining the position of the liver. Pain-numbing medications will be used to help you go through the entire process.


During the transvenous process, the doctor will make an extremely small incision through which a cannula will be inserted and then progress toward the liver.


Once the process is done, you will be required to rest for at least four hours to track any reactions. You may feel slight discomfort and minor pain that will fade away as time passes. The patient who has recently gone through the liver biopsy process must follow all the guidelines given by the medical professionals.




A liver biopsy is a simple test to find out any damage in the liver. It is a short-termed process and often extremely effective. The liver biopsy cost is minimal too.

Medanta Medical Team
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