Jefferson University Hospitals

Liver Biopsy

If you have or are suspected to have a liver condition, Jefferson's expert team of digestive disease physicians and radiologists may perform tests to assess the structure and the function of your liver, such as ultrasound, a liver scan or blood tests. Sometimes, our physicians need more information to complete the diagnostic puzzle. In which case, we may perform a liver biopsy.

Types of Liver Biopsies

Jefferson physicians will seek to use the least invasive method that is appropriate for you, including:

  • Needle biopsy. Usually, liver biopsies are performed by needle. A local anesthetic is provided to numb the area where the needle will be inserted. This usually takes less than 10 minutes.
  • Laparoscopic biopsy. Sometimes, when our surgeons need to biopsy several areas of the liver, we may perform a laparoscopic biopsy. A laparoscope is a special tube that sends images to a monitor and contains surgical instruments. The tube is inserted through an incision in your abdomen. The surgeon watches the monitor and uses the surgical instruments to remove the tissue samples.
  • Transvenous biopsy. When you have blood-clotting problems or tend to have fluid in your abdomen, our physicians use transvenous biopsy. Physicians insert a tube called a catheter into a vein in the neck and guide it to the liver. An interventional radiologist then puts a biopsy needle into the catheter and then into the liver.

Using the information obtained through the biopsy, our medical team will be able to make an expert diagnosis and provide personalized care that is appropriate for you and your condition.