Liver Biopsy (Percutaneous)


During this outpatient procedure, one or more small samples of tissue are taken from the liver. These tissue samples will be studied under a microscope. A liver biopsy can help identify problems in the liver. If the patient has a liver disease, a biopsy can help doctors determine the type and severity.

Preparation (for Percutaneous Biopsy)

In preparation for the procedure, the patient may be given an IV and a sedative. The patient lies on the back or on the left side. The patient's right arm is raised to expose the abdomen. The skin over the liver is cleansed and sanitized. Anesthestic is injected to numb the skin.

Taking the Biopsy

The doctor carefully inserts the biopsy needle through the skin and down into the liver. The doctor may guide the needle with the help of an x-ray device called a fluoroscope, which shows moving images from within the body. The doctor uses the biopsy needle to quickly collect a sample. If multiple samples are needed, the doctor may make more than one puncture through the skin.

End of Procedure

When the procedure is complete, the skin is bandaged. The patient is observed in a recovery room before being discharged. Some soreness is common after the procedure, and the patient is advised to avoid strenuous activity while the liver heals. Most patents can resume normal activities within a few days of the procedure.