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Image-guided liver biopsy

Image-guided liver biopsy - What it is

In this procedure, small pieces of liver tissue are taken for analysis. This is done for to
  • Diagnose tumours in the liver (targeted to certain areas which contain tumour)
  • Diagnose cirrhosis or other liver disease (non targeted)
This procedure can be done either by direct access to the liver through a tiny incision in the upper abdominal wall (percutaneous) or through the veins inside the liver which is reached from the jugular vein in the neck (transjugular). The transjugular approach is for non targeted biopsies only.

Percutaneous procedure is usually performed after administration of local anaesthetic to numb the site of skin puncture site in the upper abdomen. Subsequently a biopsy needle is introduced through a small incision in the upper abdomen under real time ultrasound guidance and the tissue samples are acquired. Usually two to three samples are taken but more samples may be taken if several tests are requested.

Transjugular procedure is also usually performed after administration of local anaesthetic to numb the skin puncture site in the neck. Subsequently a blood vessel (the internal jugular vein) is punctured to gain access to the vascular system. Through the vascular system, the equipment will then be directed to the lvier to get a biopsy. 

Image-guided liver biopsy - Symptoms

Liver tumours can present as masses, liver dysfunction or picked up on imaging (e.g. CT scans).

Liver dysfunction may cause symptoms such as vague upper abdominal pain, tiredness, abdominal and/or feet swelling, jaundice, skin itchiness dark urine or pale stools.

Image-guided liver biopsy - How to prevent?

Image-guided liver biopsy - Causes and Risk Factors

​The liver biopsy procedure is usually safe in majority of patients. But, there is a small but serious risk of bleeding from the liver which may be potentially life threatening and may require additional treatments.

Image-guided liver biopsy - Diagnosis

​The liver biopsy is commonly performed to diagnose conditions such as primary or secondary liver cancer, liver cirrhosis, and hepatitis.

Image-guided liver biopsy - Treatments

​As there are different conditions (as mentioned above) leading to liver dysfunction, the treatment varies according to the type and severity of the condition. Your doctor will discuss the treatment options after the diagnosis is confirmed.

Image-guided liver biopsy - Preparing for surgery

​Your doctor and the staff caring for you will give instructions you as to when to fast the day before the procedure. If you are on certain medications e.g. Aspirin, Clopidogrel (Plavix), Warfarin, Low molecular weight heparin (Clexane), Rivaroxaban , you may be asked to stop these medications at the appropriate intervals before the procedure.

Image-guided liver biopsy - Post-surgery care

You will be taken from the procedure room into the recovery area on a trolley. The nurse in the recovery area will check your pulse, blood pressure and other observations. 

Once any pain is controlled, you will be transferred to the ward. You will generally stay in bed for a few hours, until you have recovered. You will be kept in hospital overnight. Once you are home, you can resume normal activities. 

Image-guided liver biopsy - Other Information

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