Why it's doneBy Mayo Clinic staff
A liver biopsy may be done to:
- Diagnose a liver problem that can't be otherwise identified
- Obtain a sample of tissue from an abnormality found by an imaging study
- Determine the severity of liver disease — a process called staging
- Help develop treatment plans based on the liver's condition
- Determine how well treatment for liver disease is working
- Monitor the liver after a liver transplant
Your doctor may recommend a liver biopsy if you have:
- Abnormal liver test results that can't be explained
- A mass (tumor) or other abnormalities on your liver as seen on imaging tests
- Ongoing, unexplained fevers
A liver biopsy also is commonly performed to help diagnose and stage certain liver diseases, including:
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- Chronic hepatitis B or C
- Autoimmune hepatitis
- Alcoholic liver disease
- Primary biliary cirrhosis
- Primary sclerosing cholangitis
- Wilson's disease
- Liver biopsy. Alexandria, Va.: American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. http://www.aasld.org/practiceguidelines/Pages/guidelinelisting.aspx. Accessed Sept. 28, 2011.
- Bravo A, et al. Transjugular, laparoscopic and fine needle aspiration liver biopsy. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Sept. 28, 2011.
- Liver biopsy. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/liverbiopsy/index.aspx. Accessed Sept. 28, 2011.