What is a liver biopsy?
A liver biopsy is a procedure in which a doctor takes a small piece of tissue from your liver. A pathologist will examine the tissue with a microscope to look for signs of damage or disease.
Are there different types of liver biopsy?
Yes. In each type of liver biopsy, doctors take the sample of liver tissue in a different way. Common types of liver biopsy are described below.
Percutaneous liver biopsy
In percutaneous liver biopsy, the doctor inserts a needle through your skin in the upper part of the abdomen to take a small piece of your liver tissue.
Percutaneous liver biopsy is the most common type of liver biopsy and has been performed routinely for many years. Your doctor may perform an ultrasound NIH external link or computed tomography (CT) scan to be sure that the needle is positioned in the correct place.
Transjugular liver biopsy
In transjugular liver biopsy, a doctor inserts a needle into a vein in your neck called the jugular vein. The doctor passes the needle through your veins to your liver to take a small piece of tissue.
Surgical liver biopsy
If you need a liver biopsy and you are having surgery for other reasons, a doctor may perform a liver biopsy during the surgery.