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Surgery » Liver Biopsy

Liver Biopsy

Liver Biopsy: Introduction

A liver biopsy is a medical procedure to remove a small amount of tissue from the liver for examination. The biopsy helps diagnose a number of liver diseases or assess the stage (early, advanced) of liver disease. This is especially important in hepatitis C infection. The biopsy also helps detect: infections, cancer, unexplained enlarged liver, or abnormal liver enzymes detected by blood tests. The biopsy is performed in a hospital setting and under local anesthesia. The physician will use a needle to remove a small piece of the liver. The tissue is then sent to the laboratory for evaluation....more »

Medical Costs Report

Surgery Costs Report for Liver Biopsy

Liver Biopsy: Related Terms

Other medical terms related to medical conditions and procedures for Liver Biopsy include:

Liver Biopsy: Overview

What is Liver Biopsy? A liver biopsy is a procedure to diagnose diseases that affect the liver. The procedure involves removing small pieces of liver tissue that are examined in a laboratory. Liver biopsies are also performed to monitor treatments for various liver diseases. There are several methods for obtaining liver tissue samples.

The most common way a liver sample is obtained is by inserting a needle into the liver for a fraction of a second. This can be done in the hospital, and you may be sent home within three to six hours if there are no complications. Your doctor determines the best site, depth, and angle of the needle puncture by physical examination or ultrasound. The skin and area under the skin is anesthetized, and a needle is passed quickly into and out of the liver.

Another technique used for liver biopsy is guiding the needle into the liver through the abdomen or chest using various imaging techniques. This approach is used when there are localized tumors identified by ultrasound or computed tomography (CT). Either ultrasound or CT scanning is used to pinpoint the site of the tumor and guide the needle to this specific area through the abdomen or chest. After this procedure, you are usually allowed to go home the same day....more »

Profile: Patient Candidates for Liver Biopsy

Who are candidates for Liver Biopsy? The biopsy helps diagnose a number of liver diseases. It also helps assess the stage and progression of liver disease. This is especially important in hepatitis C infection.

The biopsy also helps detect:

  • Cancer
  • Infections
  • Cirrhosis (scarring of the liver)
  • Hepatomegaly (enlargement of the liver)
  • Abnormal liver enzymes that have been detected in blood tests
...more »

Liver Biopsy: Treatment Options

What are alternatives to Liver Biopsy? The primary alternative to a liver biopsy is to make the diagnosis of a liver disease based on the physical examination of the patient, medical history, and blood testing. In some cases, blood testing is quite accurate in giving the doctor the information to diagnose chronic liver disease, while in other circumstances a liver biopsy is needed to assure an accurate diagnosis.

Liver biopsies are considered minor surgery and are usually performed under local anesthesia. With local anesthesia you will be given medication that numbs the area of the needle insertion as opposed to administering general anesthesia that would result in you being unconscious during the procedure....more »

Liver Biopsy: Preparing for Surgery

How do you prepare for Liver Biopsy? Prior to any surgery, your doctor will give you a complete medical examination and evaluate your overall health and your health history. You may be required to get additional tests such as X-rays and lab tests. Your doctor will also review with you the potential risks and benefits of the operation and will ask you to sign a consent form. It is important that you ask questions and be sure you understand the reason for the surgery as well as the risks.

It is important that you inform your doctor if you have allergies to any medications, what medications you are taking, and if you have bleeding problems. It is also important to inform your doctor if you are pregnant.

Your doctor will also give you specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications. Carefully following these instructions will help your surgery go more smoothly.

Depending on the circumstances of your surgery, you may be instructed to do the following:

  • Completely empty your colon and cleanse your intestines prior to surgery. You may be requested to drink clear liquids only for one or several days prior to surgery.
  • Stop eating or drinking after midnight the night before the operation except medications that your doctor has told you are permissible to take with a sip of water the morning of surgery.
  • Plan for your care and recovery after the operation. Find someone to drive you home after the surgery. Allow for time to rest and try to find people to help you with your day-to-day duties.
  • Stop smoking at least six to eight weeks prior to surgery as smoking delays wound healing. Smokers are also more likely to have breathing problems during surgery.
...more »

Liver Biopsy: Recovery After Surgery

What is the Liver Biopsy recovery process? After the biopsy, the physician will put a bandage over the incision and have you lie on your right side, pressed against a towel, for one to two hours. Your blood pressure, heart rate and breathing will be monitored as well as your level of pain.

Since you will be mildly sedated, you should arrange for transportation after the biopsy. You should plan to go home and rest after the biopsy for about a day depending on your doctor's instructions. Avoid exertion for the next week so that the incision and liver can heal. Soreness at the incision site and some pain in your right shoulder are common. This pain is caused by irritation of the diaphragm muscle (the pain usually radiates to the shoulder) and should disappear within a few hours or days. Your doctor may recommend that you take Tylenol for pain, but you should avoid aspirin or ibuprofen for the first week after surgery. These medicines decrease blood clotting, which is crucial for healing.

You should call your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe pain at the biopsy site or shoulder
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Bleeding from the biopsy site
  • Fever (temperature greater than 100.4 F or 38 C)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weakness and sweating
  • Heart palpitations

Though complications from liver biopsies are rare, some risk is involved. Puncture of the lung or gallbladder are risks and infection, bleeding and pain could occur. Medical conditions such as heart or circulation problems may increase your risk of having a reaction to local anesthetic. Some individuals are also allergic to anesthesia....more »

Liver Biopsy: Costs of Surgery

What is the cost of Liver Biopsy? A variety of factors may influence the cost of the surgery. They include:

  • Insurance coverage
  • Pre-existing health
  • Insurance co-pay
  • Location of the facility

These factors vary depending on you and your situation.

The cost of each procedure can vary dramatically based upon age, location, gender, and insurance coverage. HealthGrades provides detailed cost estimates which include the costs of the procedure, drugs, hospital stay, and more. Each cost estimate is easy to understand and provides medical terms you need to know.

The detailed cost estimate for Liver Biopsy, includes costs for:

  • Needle liver biopsy
  • Partial liver removal
  • Needle liver biopsy in conjunction with another procedure
  • Surgical liver biopsy
  • and Open exploration of bile ducts for atresia.

Surgery Cost Report for Liver Biopsy

Liver Biopsy: Find a Surgeon or Specialist

Where can I find a Liver Biopsy doctor or surgeon? Liver Biopsy is typically performed by doctors specializing in General Surgery. Nationally, there are 27988 practicing General Surgeons. HealthGrades offers detailed physician reports to help you find a qualified Liver Biopsy doctor or surgeon in your area, which includes disciplinary actions, patient feedback, background information, and more. Start your search now!

Find a Doctor or Surgeon »

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