What Are Possible Complications of a Liver Biopsy?


Quick Answer

Possible complications of a liver biopsy include pain, bleeding, infection, and injury to another organ, according to Mayo Clinic. In rare cases, a liver biopsy may lead to hematoma, short-term issues with the facial nerves, or temporary voice problems.

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Full Answer

While a liver biopsy is typically safe when carried out by an experienced doctor, it is possible for patients to feel mild discomfort at the site of biopsy after the procedure, states Mayo Clinic. Anyone who suffers too much bleeding post biopsy may have to undergo blood transfusion or surgery. Infection may occur when bacteria reach the abdominal cavity or bloodstream. It is also possible to experience an accidental injury to a nearby organ if the needle sticks it.

A transjugular liver biopsy involves inserting a catheter into a vein in the neck and passing down the thin tube to the vein running through the liver, says Mayo Clinic. Insertion of a catheter can lead to hematoma, or blood accumulation, in the neck, as blood may collect around the site of insertion. Another rare complication is injury to the facial nerves, which can lead to a drooping eyelid and other facial problems.

In a liver biopsy, a tiny piece of liver tissue is removed and used for examination in a laboratory, explains Mayo Clinic. Doctors analyze the tissue to search for signs of liver problems.

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