Liver Biopsy

Also known as: transjugular liver biopsy, percutaneous liver biopsy.

What is a liver biopsy?

A biopsy is a medical procedure that involves taking a small sample of tissue in order to check for problems.

  • A percutaneous liver biopsy is a biopsy performed on the liver via the use of a needle.
  • A transjugular liver biopsy is a biopsy performed on the liver via the use of a needle inserted into a vein.

What happens during a liver biopsy?

Sedation or anesthesia are commonly utilized for liver biopsy procedures.

  • During a transjugular liver biopsy, a needle is inserted into the jugular vein and then a small catheter is passed through the jugular vein and into a vein draining the liver. A needle that is in the catheter is then placed through the wall of the vein and into the liver. This needle is used to remove some small samples of tissue from the liver.
  • During a percutaneous liver biopsy, a long, thin needle is inserted through the rib cage and advanced into the liver, where the liver tissue samples are removed.

Ultrasound is often used to help guide the physician during these procedures.

Is any special preparation needed?

No special preparations are needed for the procedure.

What are the risk factors?

Bleeding, infection, or damage to the liver or surrounding structures are all possible risks of percutaneous liver biopsy.


Reviewed by: John M Peters, DO

This page was last updated on: 12/20/2019 10:51:00 AM