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Liver Biopsy

How To Prepare continued...

If you take insulin, check with your doctor about what you need to take on the day of your test.

You will be asked to sign a consent form that says you understand the risks of the test and agree to have it done.

Arrange for someone to drive you home after the test because you may be given a sedative to help you relax.

You will have blood tests done before the liver biopsy to see whether you have any bleeding or blood clotting problems. You may also have an ultrasound test or CT scan of the liver to check the best place to insert the biopsy needle.

Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your procedure may be canceled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of the procedure, take them with only a sip of water.

Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).

How It Is Done

A liver biopsy is done by a gastroenterologist, hepatologist, radiologist, or surgeon in a clinic or a hospital. A liver biopsy is often done by a radiologist using ultrasound or a CT scan to help guide the biopsy needle. When cirrhosis of the liver or a cancer is suspected, a liver biopsy may be done during a laparoscopy.

You will need to take off all or most of your clothes. You will be given a cloth or paper gown to use during the test.

Before the test, you may be given a sedative through a vein (IV) in your arm. The sedative will help you relax and remain still.

During the test

During the test, you will lie on your back with your right arm resting under or above your head and your head turned to your left. Your doctor may tap on your chest and belly to find your liver or he or she may use ultrasound.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 15, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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