The liver is found in the right upper abdomen, behind the ribs. There are many different problems that may occur in the liver and some may cause permanent damage. These conditions include viral infections, reactions to drugs or alcohol, tumors, hereditary conditions, and problems with the body’s immune system.
When a physician evaluates a liver condition he will take a medical history and perform a physical exam. Blood studies, known as liver function tests (LFT), give an overview of the health of the liver. If LFT results are persistently abnormal, the physician will then perform additional medical studies to determine the cause of the problem.
The liver biopsy helps to answer questions that the physician has with regards to the patient's condition. The biopsy is a small sample of liver tissue which is prepared and stained in a laboratory, so the pathologist can view it microscopically. This helps the physician make a specific diagnosis and determine the extent and seriousness of the liver condition. The Procedure:
The liver biopsy is usually performed on an outpatient basis. A mild sedative may be given to the patient prior to the procedure. An ultrasound is used to identify the best location to make the biopsy. After the physician determines the location, the patient lies quietly on the back. That area of the skin where the biopsy will be done is carefully cleaned. A local anesthetic is used to numb the skin and tissue. A specially designed needle is inserted through the skin into the liver and a small core of tissue is obtained. The procedure takes only 15 to 20 minutes.Recovery:
The patient is kept at rest for several hours following the exam. Medical personnel check the heart rate and blood pressure during this time. Before being discharged, the patient is given instructions about returning to normal activities and about eating. Activity is usually restricted for a day or so after the biopsy.
to view requirements for this procedure. This procedure is perfromed in a hospital setting such as Bronson and Borgess Hospitals.
You must not drive a car, operate heavy machinery or make important decisions until the following day. Therefore, you will need to have someone available to drive you home.