Serious problems from a liver biopsy are rare. Problems can include:
After the test
After the test, call 911 or other emergency services immediately if you develop:
After the test, call your doctor immediately if you
- A lot of bleeding from the needle
- A fast or skipping heartbeat.
- A fever.
- Shortness of
- Increasing pain at the needle site.
- Blood in
- Swelling or bloating in your belly.
liver biopsy is done using a needle inserted
between two of the right lower ribs to remove a sample of liver tissue. The
tissue sample is sent to a laboratory and looked at under a microscope to see
if there are any liver problems.
- Samples of liver tissue sent to a pathology lab
will be looked at under a microscope for liver diseases such as liver cancer or
- Other samples of liver tissue
may be sent to a microbiology lab to see whether an infection, such as
tuberculosis of the liver, is present.
Test results are generally ready in 2 to 4 days. If tests
are done to find infections, it may take several weeks for the results to be
The liver tissue looks normal under a microscope. No
signs of infection, inflammation, cancer, or cirrhosis are present.
Abnormal cells or liver tissue are present. This may be
caused by an infection such as
hepatitis, liver disease such as cirrhosis, or cancer. If liver cancer is present, the biopsy can help find the
type of cancer. If
hepatitis is present, the test can be used to see the
chance of developing cirrhosis. Test results may also show the severity of
What Affects the Test
Occasionally, a liver biopsy may not provide helpful results because not enough tissue is sampled
to make a clear diagnosis.