Liver Biopsy in Interventional Radiology
Your primary doctor has scheduled a liver biopsy to be done by our Interventional Radiologists, on __________________ at ___________ am/pm. Report to G3/3, the Radiology desk.
This handout explains the procedure to you, and tells you what you need to do before and after the procedure. Before the biopsy, our doctors or nurse practitioners will explain the procedure and ask for your consent to do it.
What Is a Liver Biopsy Done by Interventional Radiology?
A liver biopsy is the removal of a small tissue sample from your liver. The procedure is done with the use of ultrasound, fluoroscopy, and/or computerized axial tomography (also referred to as CAT or CT scan).
Ultrasound is the imaging of deep structures in the body by recording the echoes or pulses of ultrasonic waves directed into the tissues.
Fluoroscopy is the use of real time x-rays on a TV screen to see body structures.
Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT scan) is the use of an x-ray beam which moves around the patient. A computer stores, interprets and generates an image onto a magnetic disk. The body image created can then be reconstructed through pictures in a cross section.
How to Prepare for the Biopsy
1. You will have lab work done before your biopsy. We can draw this blood on the day of your appointment. If you have your blood work done elsewhere, be sure to bring the results with you the day of your biopsy. We will need to have a hematocrit, platelet count, and INR.
2. If you are taking aspirin or Coumadin® daily, we ask that you check if it is ok to stop these medicines with the doctor who prescribes this for you. You will need to stop taking your medicine 3 days before your biopsy. Count the day of the biopsy as day 4. Do not take the medicine day 4, day 3, day 2, or day 1.
3. Please arrange to have someone drive you home after the biopsy because you may receive sedative medicine. You should not drive or make important decisions until the next day. We also strongly suggest you have someone stay with you the night of the biopsy. These are both precautionary measures, in the event any problem should occur and you need medical care right away.
4. The morning of the biopsy, you may not eat 6 hours before the biopsy. You may drink clear fluid like water or apple juice up until 4 hours before the procedure.
5. If you take insulin for diabetes, the radiologists ask that you take one-half (1/2) the normal dose of your morning insulin.
6. Take your prescribed oral medicine as prescribed with a sip of water.
During the Biopsy
Be sure to tell the radiologists if you have any allergies to contrast dye, antibiotics, anesthetic agents, or any other medicines that you may have taken before.
An IV (intravenous) catheter will be started in your hand to give you fluids during the procedure. Medicine for pain and/or anxiety is sometimes given for this procedure. You can talk about this with your Radiologist.
After review of your x-rays and the use of a combination of the above techniques, the radiologist may mark an area on your abdomen that will show the best place to insert the biopsy needle. After this, the area will be cleaned with special soap. The skin around the entrance site will be numbed so you will have little pain during the procedure. A 1% Lidocaine medicine is most often used to numb the site. Normally, our patients do not feel pain during the procedure, but you may feel pressure during the biopsy.
The tissue sample is withdrawn using a special needle that is placed through the skin into the liver. One to three samples may be taken. After the biopsy, the tissue sample is taken for exam under the microscope for signs of disease.
After the Biopsy
- After the biopsy a Band-Aid® will be put on the site where the tissue sample was taken. You will be watched for 4-6 hours after. During this time your pulse, blood pressure and biopsy site will be checked often. If you have remained stable, you will be allowed to go home after 4-6 hours.
- After the local anesthetic wears off you may feel some pain at the biopsy site. Your pain should not be severe, but rather described as somewhat sore at the site. No medicines are prescribed after the biopsy. If you have pain, we suggest the use of Tylenol®, Motrin®, or any other medicine that you would use for a headache that your doctor allows you to take. The pain should go away within the first 24 hours.
- You should not eat or drink anything for 1-4 hours after the biopsy, depending on the radiologist’s orders.
- You will have blood drawn once or twice after the biopsy to check your blood counts.
- You will have an IV line to give you fluids.
- Tell the nurse if you feel short of breath, have new abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and chills.
Your Care at Home
You may eat or drink anything you would like once you arrive home except alcoholic beverages. Do not drink alcoholic beverages for 24 hours.
For the first 24 hours, rest and do not do any strenuous activities, do not lift more than 10 pounds. Resume your normal routine after 24 hours.
You may remove the Band-Aid® over the biopsy site the next morning.
You may shower 24 hours after the procedure.
When to Call the Doctor
- If you have excess bleeding at the biopsy site.
- If you have extreme dizziness, or feel faint or light-headed.
- If your pain around the biopsy site gets worse rather than better 2-3 days after the biopsy.
- If you are not feeling well, check your temperature. If you have a fever greater than 100.4°F (38°C), please call your primary doctor.
- If you have any questions or problems once you are home
Radiology Department (608) 263-8355 during the day (8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.).
Evenings and weekends call the paging operator (608) 262-0486 to reach the Interventional Radiologist on call. Give the paging operator your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
If you live out of the area, please call the paging operator at 1-800-323-8942.
Your doctor will discuss the results with you when they are available.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 12/07/2012
Copyright © 04/28/2010 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4374
Print Health Fact For You