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Liver Biopsy
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It consists of inserting a special needle into the liver in order to remove some tissue samples for laboratory examination.

 

When is it needed?

Usually, the physician decides to perform a liver biopsy after blood tests show the malfunctioning of the liver.

 

How should you prepare yourself before a liver biopsy?

  • The physician will request blood tests to make sure that your blood clots properly
  • You should mention to the physician about any medications you are taking
  • You should stop taking medications such as aspirin, iboprofen and anticoagulants, one week before the procedure
  • You should stop eating and drinking 8 hours before the procedure (your physician will tell you whether to continue with your medications during this period or not or he may give you special instructions)
  • You should arrive to the appointment an hour before the scheduled time of the procedure

 

What to expect during the procedure?

  • The patient will be asked to lie on a hospital bed on his/her back with the right hand above his/her head.
  • The physician then will outline the liver and perform a local anesthesia. He will do a small incision on the right side of the body and insert a needle in order to retrieve a sample of liver tissue.
  • You will be asked to hold your breath for 5 to 10 seconds, while putting the needle; the entire procedure will take 20 minutes. (You will need to hold very still in order to avoid the nick of lungs or gallbladder that are close to the liver). However, In certain cases the physician may request an ultrasound image in order to locate the specific spot.

 

What are the different methods of liver biopsy?

Laparoscopic Biopsy

This method consists of inserting a special tube called a laparoscope through an incision in the abdomen, thus sending images into the liver monitor. The physician will watch the monitor and remove tissue samples from the liver. Usually, this method is used when the physician need tissue samples from one or more parts of the liver.

Transvenous Biopsy

This method consists of inserting a tube, called “catheter� into the vein in the neck and guiding it to the liver. The needle will be placed into the catheter. Usually, such method is used for patients that have blood-clotting problems or fluid in the abdomen.

 

How would be the recovery?

  • The incision will be wrapped with a bandage, pressed against a towel for 1 or 2 hours. And, the nurse will monitor the vital signs and level of pain.
  • You shouldn’t drive directly after the procedure.
  • You should remain in bed at home for 8 to 12 hours (except for going to bathroom); this depends on the physician’s instructions.
  • You should avoid efforts in the next week, so that the incision and liver heal.
  • You may feel some pain at the incision and possibly in your right shoulder, but it should disappear within few hours.
  • Your physician may prescribe you Tylenol or others for pain, but definitely you must not take any aspirin, ibuprofen during the next week of the procedure because these may reduce blood clotting which is necessary for healing.

 

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