A liver biopsy is a diagnostic procedure used to examine liver tissue and determine the cause of any abnormalities. This procedure is often performed after another test, such as a blood test, indicates a problem within the liver. A liver biopsy can diagnose alcoholic liver disease, hemochromatosis, hepatitis B and C and liver cancer and many other liver disorders.
The biopsy procedure can be performed in several different ways, but generally takes about 20 minutes and may be performed in your doctor’s office or in a hospital. A percutaneous biopsy uses local anesthesia and a needle to take samples. Percutaneous biopsies may also be assisted by imaging techniques to properly guide the needle. A short recovery time of a few hours is needed after a liver biopsy.