In a liver biopsy, the physician removes a small piece of tissue from your liver to look for signs of damage or disease. A special needle is used to remove the tissue from the liver. The physician decides to do a liver biopsy after tests suggest that the liver does not work properly. Reasons for a biopsy include:
- higher than normal levels of liver enzymes in your blood
- too much iron or copper in your blood
- x- ray evidence that the liver is swollen.
Looking at liver tissue itself is the best way to determine whether the liver is healthy or what is causing it to be damaged.
There are several types of biopsy procedures and your doctor will determine the best course of treatment for you. It is important to discuss your concerns, current medications and any other questions you have with your doctor. It is also important to follow your physician’s instructions very carefully.
Like any surgery, liver biopsy does have some risks, such as puncture of the lung or gallbladder, infection, bleeding, and pain, but these complications are rare.