Liver Biopsy

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Due to the different cases of problems regarding the liver, a certain procedure known as the liver biopsy is performed to provide the most accurate diagnosis possible for diseases that affect one’s liver. This particular method of finding out the specific disease associated with the liver also has several approaches from which patients can choose from.

Why is this procedure being used at present? Basically, this particular procedure is used for diagnostic purposes in order to find out the causes of liver damage. There are quite a number of diseases related to the liver and sometimes it may be difficult and confusing to pinpoint what exactly affects the function of the liver.

Common illnesses that affect the liver are alcoholic or fatty liver disease, jaundice, possible injury due to drug therapies, hepatitis A, B, or C, autoimmune liver disease, hemochromatosis among others. There are also cases wherein causes are undetermined such as hepatomegaly or liver enlargement, cancers that originate from the liver or spread to the liver from other sites, noncancerous tumors or abnormalities in the liver.

As mentioned above, there are numerous approaches in obtaining tissue for a liver biopsy. The samples of tissue taken from the liver are taken to the laboratory for series of tests and examinations. The percutaneous biopsy of the liver is a procedure wherein a needle with a diameter similar to that of a pen refill is passed through the skin and through the liver to obtain a specimen.

A patient who undergoes this procedure needs to cooperate with the physician in order to locate the liver before inserting the needle in the right spot. This procedure, which can also be guided by ultrasound images as well as CT scan, is often used for diagnosing diseases that affect discrete spots in the liver.

A form of biopsy rarely used at nowadays, except as a part of a different operation, is through open surgical biopsy of the liver. Surgeons are provided with two choices in procuring a liver tissue in this procedure, either through the use of a biopsy needle or practically excise a small part from the liver surgically.

Another means of obtaining a biopsy specimen of the liver is through the laparoscope. Basically, in this approach, incisions that should be small are made in the abdomen of the patient and surgical instruments are used to obtain some tissue from the liver. The laparoscope is used to magnify the object to allow exceptional visualizations of the liver surface. Sometimes part of this particular procedure also includes ultrasound.

In spite of the presence of high technological methods used for obtaining sample of liver tissue to detect illnesses, there are certain cases wherein the biopsy of the liver can also be the cause of more problems. It may be a safety measure to observe oneself after undergoing any of the said procedures. Manifestations of damage in the liver due to a biopsy of the said organ could be fever, nausea or vomiting, chest pains, swelling or discharge. These may be indications of infection. Internal bleeding may also occur if the patient experiences worsening abdominal pains, swelling or bloating.

Before undergoing a liver biopsy, it is best to choose the best doctor possible in order to avoid having problems or doubts. The physician and patient needs to have a good agreement and communication to prevent misunderstanding and conflict in sensitive situations like this.

Comments

One Response to “Liver Biopsy”

  1. gilda lubert on May 19th, 2011 9:39 am

    my doctor wants me to have a liver biopsy for my fatty liver but i have ny doubts.

    are there other options such as medication, cleansing etc.

    if my ast and alt levels go down am i clear of the biopsy?

    thanks





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