Any complications in the CT scan, blood test or an X-ray report that hint a problem with the liver or its cells would require a liver biopsy. This procedure is carried out after a problem with the liver has been identified as it helps the doctors to study the liver cells better and identify the cause.
What is liver biopsy?
Liver biopsy is carried out by taking a small sample of the liver tissue and studying it in the laboratory. A needle is inserted between two of the lower ribs on the right side to take the sample out which can be studied by the pathologist. The x-rays and the CT scans can surely help identify the areas of concern, but a biopsy might be needed in some cases. There are three different types of liver biopsy:
- The needle biopsy which involves a small needle being inserted into the abdomen to extract the liver tissue. It is the most common type biopsy and requires only local anaesthesia
- Transjugular biopsy where a pipe is driven down the neck to the liver to take sample of the patients with bleeding disorders
- Laparoscopic biopsy where the sample is taken through the incision in the abdomen
Each type uses a different anaesthesia technique and preparation methods.
Against the contrary belief, liver biopsy is not performed to detect cancer only. It has many other purposes too. Liver biopsy is used with blood tests and other examinations to assist the doctors with their diagnosis. Some of the common indications which require a liver biopsy include
- Detection of liver diseases
- Evaluating test results
- Diagnosis of liver disease
- Evaluating the case of liver cirrhosis and jaundice
- To check for the toxic effect of medicine on liver
- For the evaluation of the case of liver transplant
- Diagnose the presence of an abnormal mass in the liver
- Verify the condition of the liver when the patient is suffering from the liver disease.
Liver biopsy is of three different types to help the patients who have a different health problem. It is a simple procedure which helps evaluate the condition of the liver and also allow the doctors to detect the presence of cancerous cells.
Like any other procedure which requires breaking the skin, liver biopsy also carries its risks of complications. The biggest complication of liver biopsy is an infection at the site of needle insertion. It can also cause an injury to the abdomen or intestines. The occurrence of these complications might be rare, but it always helps to stay prepared.
Before going for the procedure, it is important that the doctor is aware of the complete medical history of the patient so that he can stay prepared for any kind of complications that might occur during the procedure. However, if one feels dizzy or experiences pain in the abdomen, he should rush to the doctor immediately.