It is sometimes difficult to diagnose a condition based on symptoms and simple blood tests such as Liver Function Tests (LFTs). Today often the only way of diagnosis for a liver disease and to identify how advanced it is, is to perform a liver biopsy.
The procedure involves using a special needle to get a sample of tissue from the liver to be examined in the laboratory and takes about 20 minutes. In some cases, an ultrasound image of the liver may be used to help guide the needle to a specific spot.
Liver biopsy can detect excess fat in the liver (fatty liver), chronic liver inflammation (chronic hepatitis), metabolic liver diseases such as Wilson's disease (an excess of copper) and hemochromatosis (iron overload), complications following liver transplantation, and cancer that has spread to the liver.
Because bleeding can start up to 15 days after the biopsy, the person is instructed to stay within an hour's drive of the hospital during that period. These complications, though infrequent, can cause serious problems; the risk of morbidity is about 3/1000 and 1 to 3 of 10,000 people die as a result of the procedure.
Liver Biopsy is not suited for people with blood clotting disorders, people who are on blood thinning medication or people with hemangiomas (benign liver cyst consisting of twisted congested blood vessels).
Today some parts of the liver diagnostic with biopsy can be substituted in a better way by innovative liver diagnostic as e.g. transient elastography.
Fine-needle biopsy (FNB) uses needles with a diameter smaller than 1.2mm. Although it is diagnostically inferior to thick-needle biopsy, it is less invasive and the bleeding risk is minimised. FNB combined with US-guidance can be used for the early detection of HCC.
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or call Tilo Stolzke at +49 451 400 83 01 directly.