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Percutaneous Liver Biopsy


  • Percutaneous liver biopsy is a procedure done to remove a small tissue sample from your liver for testing. Percutaneous means through your skin. During a percutaneous liver biopsy, your caregiver uses a needle to remove the tissue from your liver. Your liver is an organ that lies in the upper right side of your abdomen (stomach), under your ribs. Your liver has many jobs, such as cleaning your blood, helping digest food, and storing energy. Your liver also helps control blood clotting.
    Picture showing the location of the liver
  • A percutaneous liver biopsy may be done to check for liver diseases, such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or cancer. A biopsy may show why you have symptoms, such as an enlarged (big) liver or jaundice (yellow skin). A percutaneous liver biopsy may be needed if you have abnormal blood tests. Your caregiver also may do a biopsy if you have a fever that cannot be explained. If you have liver disease, a biopsy can show if treatments are working. You also may need a biopsy after having a liver transplant to check the function of your new liver. Having this procedure may help you and your caregiver learn about your illness. A percutaneous liver biopsy may also help your caregiver decide on the best treatment for you.


Take your medicine as directed:

Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

Do's and do nots:

  • Do have someone stay overnight with you after your procedure.
  • Do rest the day of your biopsy.
  • Do stay within 30 minutes of the hospital the first night after your biopsy.
  • Do not drive the day of your biopsy.
  • Do not jog, play sports, or lift heavy things for at least 48 hours after your biopsy. Ask your caregiver when you can return to your normal activities.

Wound care:

You may be able to remove your bandage the night of your biopsy. Ask your caregiver for information about how to care for your wound.


  • You have a fever.
  • You feel more tired than normal.
  • You have nausea (upset stomach) or are vomiting (throwing up).
  • You have questions or concerns about your procedure or care.


  • You feel lightheaded, weak, or dizzy.
  • You have bright red blood coming from the biopsy area.
  • You have increasing pain in your abdomen, chest, or right shoulder.
  • You see blood in your bowel movements (BMs), or you vomit blood.
  • You suddenly have trouble breathing.
  • Your abdomen becomes swollen.
  • Your heart is beating faster than what is normal for you.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.