Liver biopsy

What is a liver biopsy

This is a procedure whereby a small needle is inserted into your liver under either CT or Ultrasound guidance to collect a small amount of tissue. This is then examined by a pathologist for further assessment of possible diseases. Depending on the nature of the problem we may choose to collect a specimen using a fine-needle or perform a core-biopsy.

As you may require sedation, you will be required to fast from food for six (6) hours prior to your procedure, however you can continue clear liquids up until 2 hours prior. It is important to contact us and let us know if you are taking any blood thinning medications or have an iodine allergy prior to the appointment. We may also ask you to have blood tests prior to your appointment.


On the day of your procedure you will be admitted to Day Stay under your private health insurance. You will need to present to admissions on Level 1 and our porters will bring you down from the ward on a bed.

The biopsy will only take about thirty (30) minutes to perform, but we will want to observe you following the biopsy for up to four (4) hours.  The duration of observation will depend on whether a fine-needle or core biopsy has been performed and how well you tolerated the procedure.

General observations will be taken by a nurse and a cannula may be inserted into a vein. Using the most appropriate imaging technique, planning images will be taken and the radiologist will mark the skin to plan their approach to the biopsy.

After the radiologist has marked the skin, the skin will be cleaned, and then anaesthetised using local anaesthetic. The needle to collect the sample will be placed in position, and the specimen collected.


Once obtained, the specimen will be taken to Pathology where it will be examined and a report regarding your sample will be sent to your doctor. Following the biopsy you will be taken to our recovery area for observation.  Pain relief will be available if required.  You will be conscious throughout the procedure.

As there is some risk of bleeding and possibly some pain following this procedure we like to keep you for observation after the procedure in our observation area.  In this area nurses will care for you and give you medication for pain if required.  After discharge it is recommended that you undertake quiet activity for the next forty-eight (48) hours.


A small waterproof dressing will be placed over the needle site. Please leave this on for the next 24 hours. You may shower, but avoid baths and swimming.


For your comfort it is recommended you:

  • Take it easy for the next forty-eight (48) hours
  • Resume your normal activities as limited by pain


The biopsy site may be painful following the procedure but this should last only a few hours, and simple analgesia such as Panadol may be taken to reduce your discomfort. If you received sedation, the medication may still have some effects on your body for the next twenty-four (24) hours, so you may feel a little sleepy.

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