Liver biopsy

A liver biopsy involves inserting a long needle between the ribs to collect a small sample of liver tissue. Samples of liver tissue can then be examined under a microscope to further evaluate a suspected or known liver disease.

A liver biopsy may be done after other tests have failed to provide a clear diagnosis or determine the severity of a liver problem. It can also be used to monitor certain forms of liver disease, such as hepatitis C. A liver biopsy can reveal long-term inflammation (chronic hepatitis), scar tissue formation (cirrhosis), or cancer.

Last Updated: August 14, 2008

Author: Monica Rhodes

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & C. Dale Mercer, MD, FRCSC, FACS - General Surgery

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