Patients are monitored in a recovery room for up to four hours after a liver biopsy and then driven home because they are still sedated, states Mayo Clinic. Patients should avoid heavy lifting, strenuous physical activity and the use of aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs for up to one week, adds WebMD.
A pathologist studies the extracted liver tissue to determine the presence of disease or damage, rendering a report within a few days that is shared between the doctor and patient at a follow-up appointment, explains Mayo Clinic. Liver biopsies are used to look for causes of unexplained jaundice, to determine possible reasons for abnormal liver enzyme blood tests, to assess abnormalities in the liver that are found by imaging tests, or to explain an enlargement of the liver not attributable to known causes, states WebMD. Liver biopsies are also helpful in assessing existing degrees of organ damage in order to determine the most beneficial course of treatment.
While liver biopsies are typically safe, a collapsed lung is a possible risk if the biopsy needle pierces the chest wall, according to WebMD. Bile may leak from the liver or gallbladder, and rare cases of internal bleeding may occur. Individuals are advised to avoid products containing aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs for the week prior to the biopsy procedure.