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Liver Biopsy

How It Is Done continued...

Your doctor will mark a spot between two of your right lower ribs where the biopsy needle will be inserted camera.gif. The site will be cleaned with a special soap and draped with sterile towels. The doctor will give you a medicine (local anesthetic) to numb the area where the biopsy needle will be inserted.

You may be asked to take a deep breath, blow all the air out, and then hold your breath while the biopsy needle is being inserted and withdrawn. This will take only a few seconds. Holding your breath lowers the chance that the needle will go in your lung since the lungs are very close to the liver. It is important to remain still during the few seconds it takes for the doctor to collect the tissue sample. The doctor may take another tissue sample from the same spot, but from a different angle.

As soon as the doctor removes the needle, you can breathe normally. A bandage will be put on the puncture site. The test generally takes 15 to 30 minutes.

After the test

You will rest in bed and lie on your right side for 2 to 6 hours after the test. Your pulse, blood pressure, and temperature will be checked often after the biopsy.

You can go home if you have no problems after the test. You may eat your regular diet. But unless your doctor tells you it is okay, do not take aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, blood thinners, or antiplatelet medicines for one week after the biopsy. You may do your regular activities, but do not do strenuous activities or heavy lifting until your doctor says it is safe.

How It Feels

You may feel a brief sting or burn when the numbing medicine (anesthetic) goes in your skin. When the biopsy needle is inserted, you may again feel a sharp pain for a few seconds.

You may feel deep pressure and a dull pain in your belly when the biopsy needle is inserted. After the anesthetic wears off, you may feel a dull pain in your right shoulder. This is called referred pain and generally goes away in about 12 hours. You can take a nonprescription medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), for the pain. Call your doctor if your pain gets worse or lasts longer than 2 days.

A small amount of bleeding from the biopsy site can be expected. Ask your doctor how much drainage to expect.

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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