Liver Biopsy Care

Learn what care is required for the Liver Biopsy procedure. Find out what you need to do prior to the procedure, how long it will take, if you will be required to stay in the hospital and what the postoperative care is.

Liver Biopsy Details

Alternate Names for Liver Biopsy:
Biopsy of liver

What to Expect Prior to Procedure

Your doctor may do the following:

  • Physical exam
  • Blood tests
  • Ultrasound-a test that uses sound waves to examine the liver

Before your biopsy:

  • Avoid eating or drinking for 8-12 hours.
  • Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
    • Anti-inflammatory drugs (eg, aspirin )
    • Blood thinners, such as clopidogrel (Plavix) or warfarin (Coumadin)
  • Arrange for someone to drive you home after the biopsy.


Local anesthesia-just the area that is being operated on is numbed; given as an injection and may also be given with a sedative

Description of the Procedure

There are different techniques to do a liver biopsy, including:

  • Conventional liver biopsy
  • Laparoscopic liver biopsy (done when the biopsy needs to be taken from a very specific area of the liver)
  • Transvenous liver biopsy (done if your blood clots poorly or you have a lot of fluid in your abdomen)

Conventional Liver Biopsy

You will lie on your back with your right hand behind your head. The doctor might use an ultrasound or CT scan to help guide the placement of the needle. The skin will be cleaned. Next, the doctor will inject medicine to numb the area. The doctor will make a small incision. You will need to exhale and hold your breath while the needle is inserted. Sometimes, the needle will need to be inserted several times. After the procedure, your doctor will bandage the area. You will lie on your right side for at least two hours.

Laparoscopic Liver Biopsy

Your doctor will make a tiny incision. She will pass a long tool with a camera on the end into your abdomen in the area of the liver. The scope will send images of the liver to a TV screen. Your doctor will make other incisions to pass other tools. With these tools, she will remove samples of the liver.

Transvenous Liver Biopsy

Your doctor will thread a tiny flexible tube into a vein in your neck or groin. This tube will be threaded all the way into the veins in your liver. Your doctor will pass a biopsy needle through the tube to get a biopsy sample.

Immediately After Procedure

You will lie on your right side for at least two hours.

How Long Will It Take?

About 15-20 minutes

Will It Hurt?

You will have mild pain or cramping at the biopsy site. You may also have pain in the right shoulder. The pain should last for less than 30 minutes.

Postoperative Care

When you return home after the procedure, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:

  • If a sedative was given, do not drive for at least 24 hours.
  • Rest the remainder of the day.
  • Do not exercise or lift heavy objects for at least a week. Ask your doctor when you can resume normal activities.
  • Eat your normal diet.
  • Ask your doctor when you can resume taking your medicines.
  • Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions .

The results will take 1-4 weeks. You and your doctor will discuss the results.


Learn what Liver Biopsy is
What Is
Learn what the procedure is. Find out how it is performed.
Reasons For Liver Biopsy
Reasons For
Find out why and when this procedure should be done.
Liver Biopsy Complications
Learn about possible complications and what might increase the risk of them.
Liver Biopsy Details
What to Expect
Find out how long it will take, what they will be doing and what to expect afterwards.
Liver Biopsy Results
What are the next steps and other possible tests needed after you have received the results.
When to Contact Doctor about Liver Biopsy
Call Your Doctor
What to look out for and when to call your doctor after a procedure has been done.

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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright ©2014 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved. Source: EBSCO