Liver Biopsy

Liver biopsy is an important diagnostic procedure, which aims to obtain a sample of liver tissue for further investigation.


The examination is performed in horizontal position in patient lying on his back, usually under ultrasound control. The planned site of puncture is infiltrated by local anesthetic and after that, the liver is punctured by a special needle. The biopsy allows obtaining a sample of liver tissue, which is subsequently sent for histological examination.

Bed rest with repeated checking of heart rate and blood pressure is indicated in period after the procedure.


The actual intervention does not require a special preparation of the patient. It is advisable to stop using stronger anticoagulants few days before the procedure, of course only when possible and after consulting a doctor. Last food should be eaten approximately six hours before the intervention.


Liver biopsy is an invasive procedure that carries certain risks and it is not performed in all patients. It makes sense when we suspect a liver disease (liver cirrhosis, liver failure, liver inflammation, elevated liver tests of unknown origin) and do not know its cause. Another indication is a local lesion of liver tissue when we need to exclude (or confirm) a primary liver cancer or liver metastasis of an unknown primary tumor.


The procedure is only minimally painful, but it has a certain risk of bleeding. However, the bleeding is usually only mild and ends spontaneously. Very dangerous could be bleeding from a liver hemangioma and therefore it is advisable to exclude that the examined lesion is a hemangioma.


Liver biopsy is the best way how to diagnose many liver diseases including those of autoimmune origin and how to confirm presence of liver tumors and metastases.


Jiri Stefanek, MD  Author of texts: Jiri Stefanek, MD
 Sources: basic text sources