A biopsy of liver is a course of action to extract a small piece from the liver to examine the symptoms of further damage or disease and this process has been done with a microscope observation.
removes toxic substances from the blood
helps to fight against infections
helps digestion of food
stores essential nutrients and multivitamins
reserve store of energy
A liver biopsy is usually performed when problems in liver cannot be diagnosed only with blood tests or techniques used to take liver images for study such as ultrasound techniques and x rays.
It is very useful in the diagnosis of diseases that affect the liver function.
Mostly, a liver biopsy is performed to guess the degree of damage to the liver. This process which helps to study is called staging. Staging helps as a guide for the treatment.
In 1883, liver aspirate was firstly made by Paul Ehrlich, a German physician. In 1920, reports suggest the performance of first percutaneous liver biopsy.
A revolution came in the invention of the liver biopsy in 1958, when Menghini developed a procedure called as “one second needle biopsy of the liver”.
The biopsy helps diagnose many liver diseases. The procedure also helps assess the stage (early, advanced) of liver disease. This is especially important in hepatitis C infection.
Biopsy is used to Detect
Diseases like cirrhosis, hepatitis and cancer
Infections such as tuberculosis
Cause of abnormal values of liver enzymes found after the blood tests
Undetermined cause for enlargement of liver
Amoebic liver abscess
Chronic active hepatitis
Chronic persistent hepatitis
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Primary biliary cirrhosis
Pyogenic liver abscess
Primary Sclerosing cholangitis
Diagnosis of the Disease
A liver biopsy is important and useful test to diagnose several diseases that influence the liver and bile ducts. A small piece or pieces of tissue are detached from the liver and given for the examination. Biopsy is now used as a diagnostic technique for many diseases associated with liver.
Monitoring of Chronic Diseases
A liver biopsy can be a useful tool for the doctor to monitor the efficiency of therapy given to the patient for the diseases in which the liver gets affected. Similarly, it can provide a warning for certain therapies; a patient is undergoing and shows the side effects causing damage to the liver.
The main types of liver biopsy procedures are percutaneous, percutaneous image guided, laparoscopic and open surgical liver biopsy.
Percutaneous Liver Biopsy
In a percutaneous liver biopsy procedure, local anesthesia is given to the numb the skin of the patient and a small incision is made. It uses a needle with the diameter of a pen refill and the needle is then passed through the skin and goes into the liver and a sample is detached. Multiple biopsies can be done depending on the severity of the disorder
Percutaneous Image-Guided Liver Biopsy
A percutaneous image-guided liver biopsy almost resembles to the one explained above except that the needle insertion is guided by using CT scan or ultrasound images. This is many times helpful when the disease course is localized to isolated spots in the structure of the liver.
Laparoscopic Liver Biopsy
A laparoscopic liver biopsy can be done exclusively for the intention of receiving the biopsy specimen or can involve as a part of other operative procedure. Small cuts are made in the abdomen of the body and instruments are put in through surgical trocars and the biopsy specimen is obtained. The instrument laparoscope is a telescope that enlarges the substances it sees and facilitates excellent revelation of the surface of the liver. Along with laparoscopic biopsy, ultrasound technique can also be used in this procedure.
Open Surgical Liver Biopsy
Open liver biopsies are very rarely performed procedures nowadays unless they are required along with the other operative procedures. In an open biopsy, the surgeon has a choice to make to choose and use a biopsy needle or surgically cut a small wedge of tissue of the liver.