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Waitematā DHB Gastroenterology Services

Public Service, Gastroenterology & Hepatology (Liver)

Liver Biopsy

The best way to establish what type of liver disease is present and the extent of the disease, is a biopsy. It is usually performed by inserting a needle into the liver through the skin and taking a small sample of liver tissue. Examination of the sample under the microscope can demonstrate what damage or what type of disease is present. Before your doctor does this procedure, they will check whether or not you are at increased risk of bleeding by doing blood tests.
Following the procedure, you will need to be monitored for several hours before you are discharged to go home. This procedure is performed under ultrasound guidance in the
x-ray Department. You will be observed for 3-4 hours after the procedure with regular observations by a nurse.
Complications are rare - less than 1 in a 100 and include pain, bleeding and bowel injury.

This page was last updated at 4:00PM on September 6, 2021.