Liver Biopsy; Indications, Contraindications, Preparing and Procedure

Indications of liver biopsy

When is liver biopsy recommended according to specialists? You may need to go through the procedure in these cases:

  • When you get abnormal laboratory results, and they are particularly concerning
  • To confirm an obscure or unclear diagnosis or get a prognosis of your disease
  • When there’s a tumor in the liver, and we want to rule out the possibility of liver cancer
  • To diagnose impaired hepatocyte secretion or bile flow obstruction in cholestatic liver disease
  • When evaluating a case of granulomatous liver disease
  • After liver transplantation, doctors may use this technique to find out if your body is rejecting the transplanted organ
  • In case of unexplained jaundice

A liver biopsy allows doctors to have particular histologic cues that point to a specific diagnostic or trace back current liver condition to a specific case. For example, you could have advanced fatty liver disease, but we still don’t know if that is because of alcohol abuse, obesity, or hepatitis C. It could be a combination of two or more factors. Through liver biopsy, it is possible to get microscopic hints that point in the right direction.

Similarly, we may know there’s inflammation or fibrosis in the liver. But the question here is: to what extent? The most reliable way to score the degree of fibrosis or inflammation is by taking a sample into the microscope for disease grading or staging.

Written by Martin Davis