Liver Biospy:

What is liver biopsy?

Liver biopsy is a diagnostic procedure in which a small sample of liver tissue is obtained for microscopic analysis and it involves removing a small sample of tissue from your liver so that it can be examined for abnormalities. It is very useful to help doctors diagnose liver problems and to determine the extent of liver damage caused by chronic conditions such as hepatitis, alcoholism, cirrhosis, autoimmune hepatitis and cholestasis. Cholestasis is obstruction of the flow of bile, a substance secreted by the liver which helps the intestine absorb fats and for that liver biopsy provides more detailed information about the health of the liver than a liver function blood test can do and can help diagnose the cause of liver disease.

Why to do liver biopsy?
A liver biopsy is the surgical removal of a tiny sliver of liver which is then examined for signs of disease and it is the only sure way to check out the condition of your liver. For example Hepatitis C is a diffuse disease in which the damage tends to be spread or distributed evenly throughout the liver, so a liver biopsy is quite an accurate way to find out how damaged your liver is.
Other reasons for performing liver biopsy are to diagnose a liver tumor that has been detected on imaging test and also to confirm the cause and stage of chronic liver disease. Chronic liver disease which may be diagnosed through biopsy include cirrhosis and hepatitis also liver biopsy is used to monitor signs of rejection.
What are the risk of liver biopsy and is there any alternative to liver biospy?
Risk of death as a result of liver biopsy is very low and although complications are rare for that purpose risk of liver biopsy include from the bleeding site of needle entry, puncture of other organs like kidney, lung, colon and also puncture of gallbladder, resulting in leakage of bile from the gallbladder into the abdominal cavity.
Therefore as an alternative to liver biopsy, diagnosis of liver disease may be made based upon symptoms, physical examination, blood tests or even medical history.

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