Liver biopsy: how is it done?

When the liver is affected by problems such as hepatitis and cirrhosis, the doctor needs to know the degree of organ involvement so that he can determine the best treatment in each case , in order to achieve effective results.

For this, it may often be necessary to resort to liver biopsy , in order to analyze, under the microscope, the internal structures of the liver, such as the presence of inflammation or scars known as cirrhosis, as well as the severity and other characteristics of the problem that can contribute to diagnosis and treatment. It is a very important procedure that can be performed using different techniques .

We have prepared this article to describe how a liver biopsy is performed, so that you know these two procedures. Keep reading to get better informed on the subject and learn about a modern and less invasive alternative to liver biopsy.

Get to know the myths and truths about Cirrhosis by clicking here!

Puncture liver biopsy

In puncture liver biopsy, the objective is to collect small fragments of the liver to send to a laboratory and be analyzed under a microscope . For this, the professional uses a special needle that penetrates the skin until it reaches the organ.

It is an outpatient technique that requires only local anesthesia and, in some cases, possible patient sedation .

The professional uses an ultrasound device to correctly locate the liver, as well as guide the needle’s positioning so that it is possible to obtain the fragment exactly from the area where any abnormality is located. As the needle is hollow, when it is removed it brings with it a small fragment of the liver.

This type of biopsy may offer some minor risks to the patient , especially the risk of bleeding from the liver . Although this is extremely rare , the patient needs to be under observation for a few hours, but is allowed to return home the same day. However, you need to be aware in the next two weeks, as there is still a risk of complications.


As you have seen, in the biopsy performed with needles the patient is exposed to a risk of bleeding , as well as to a procedure that can cause pain and discomfort and requires at least observation for a few hours and precautions for weeks. Therefore, in some cases, there is an alternative to biopsy, by examining the liver called with Fibroscan .

This equipment is similar to an ultrasound device , however, it has a more modern technology , which allows to obtain detailed information about the liver.

Fibroscan can replace the biopsy by puncture in several cases , allowing to know the extent of fibrosis, that is, the lesions caused in the liver by problems such as hepatitis and cirrhosis. The great advantage is that it allows an accurate diagnosis that is obtained, without pain, without the need for prolonged medical observation and without hospitalization .

There is no need for any type of anesthesia or sedation, as the exam is non-invasive . The patient will not feel pain or discomfort, because the procedure is very similar to that of a common ultrasound.

In addition to offering no risk of complications during the procedure or after its completion, Fibroscan also has the great advantage of enabling faster treatment . After all, as we explained, the result can be obtained on the same day, with the exam lasting about 5 to 10 minutes.

Thus, the patient already returns home with a report and can, in most cases, proceed with his treatment.

Did you know that the Hepatogastro Clinic performs the Fibroscan exam? Check out more details by clicking here!

Many liver diseases need to be studied by biopsy. Find out how this procedure is performed and discover a less invasive method.


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