What is percutaneous liver biopsy?

Updated: Nov 21, 2019
  • Author: Gaurav Arora, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Kurt E Roberts, MD  more...
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Answer

Percutaneous liver biopsy is a procedure in which a long needle is introduced through the skin, subcutaneous tissues, intercostal muscles, and peritoneum into the liver to obtain a specimen of liver tissue. [1, 2] This procedure is usually performed on an outpatient basis. The patient is then observed for a few hours in the hospital or the ambulatory unit. It is safe in pediatric [3, 4, 5] as well as adult patients, with a low complication rate.

The liver biopsy needle used can be one of the following three types:

  • Cutting needle
  • Suction needle (discussed in this article)
  • Spring-loaded needle

This topic focuses on the technical aspects of performing a percutaneous liver biopsy. For a more detailed discussion of the theoretical aspects, see Diagnostic Liver Biopsy.


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