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When an examination of the liver has to be performed, a procedure called liver biopsy is done. During this procedure, a part of liver tissue has to be taken and examined, in order to make proper diagnose about the liver problem. Many different types of liver biopsy can be performed, and all of them will be discussed in this text.

Types of liver biopsy

Percutaneous Image-Guided liver biopsy uses a local anesthesia and then an incision is made on the numbed skin. Next, a needle is inserted and guided with ultrasound images or CT, and when liver is reached, tissue is taken. If needed, this procedure can be performed many times, as much as needed.

Next possible procedure is called percutaneous. This is a very similar procedure, but in this operation, there is no ultrasound or CT use.

Third option is laparoscopic liver biopsy, which can be performed as a part of other operation, or for the tissue extraction. Abdomen is the area where the incision is made. Through this incision, instruments are inserted in order to get the tissue. Most important instrument used is called laparoscope. It significantly decreases the difficulty of performing this operation, since it helps the doctor to see the condition of liver. Ultrasound can be also used.

Last operation that can be performed is open surgical liver biopsy. This operation is usually a part of some other procedure. It is rarely done on its own. When this operation is performed, tissue is taken by the wedge, or biopsy needle.

These operations are performed for two reasons, either monitoring of the progress of treatment, or diagnosing the state of the liver. Liver biopsy is a very important procedure, because of them.


In the first three months following the surgery, hepatic malignancy and advanced liver failure can provoke death, but this is extremely rare. Intraperitoneal hemorrhage is the most common culprit of death after the liver biopsy. There are several other complications that may arise after the surgery and those are puncture of the lung, viscera, kidney, gallbladder, colon and pleural effusion. Also, some problems may be experienced after the surgery. Those problems include hypotension, subclinical bleeding, pain, sepsis, anesthetic reaction, needle problems and hemobilia. Intrahepatic arteriovenous fistula is another problem that can be experienced after the liver biopsy. Problems that can happen after the transjugular liver biopsy are cardiac arrhythmias, neck arteries puncture, infections, transient dysphonia or Horner's syndrome, liver capsule perforation and pneumothorax.

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