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Liver Biopsy

A liver biopsy is a procedure that involves taking a small piece of liver tissue for examination with a microscope for signs of damage or disease. NIH - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

About Liver Biopsy

A health care provider will perform a liver biopsy to

A person prepares for a liver biopsy by

NIH - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

The diagnostic accuracy of US, CT, MRI and 1H-MRS for the evaluation of hepatic steatosis compared with liver biopsy: a meta-analysis

This well-conducted review concluded that magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance spectroscopy were the most accurate imaging modalities for detection of hepatic steatosis. As highlighted by the authors, this conclusion should be interpreted cautiously due to high between-study heterogeneity and lack of direct within-study comparisons.

Non-Invasive Diagnostic Assessment Tools for the Detection of Liver Fibrosis in Patients with Suspected Alcohol-Related Liver Disease: A Systematic Review and Economic Evaluation

Excessive alcohol consumption may lead to the development of alcoholrelated liver disease (ALD). Liver biopsy may be used in patients with suspected ALD to confirm the diagnosis, exclude other or additional liver pathologies, and provide accurate staging of the degree of liver injury in order to enable the prediction of prognosis and inform treatment decisions. However, as it is an invasive procedure that carries the risk of morbidity and mortality, current UK guidance recommends that biopsy is not required to confirm the diagnosis in patients with a high clinical suspicion of ALD in whom blood tests have excluded other causes of liver disease, unless it is necessary to confirm a diagnosis of acute alcoholic hepatitis in order to inform specific treatment decisions.

Systematic review of the diagnostic performance of serum markers of liver fibrosis in alcoholic liver disease

BACKGROUND: Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is a significant cause of death and morbidity. Detection of liver fibrosis at an early stage could provide opportunities for more optimal management. Serum markers of liver fibrosis offer an alternative to biopsy. Evidence of the performance of biomarkers in ALD is needed and a systematic review to evaluate available studies was conducted.

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Summaries for consumers

Transient elastography for measurement of liver fibrosis and cirrhosis in people with alcoholic liver disease

Liver fibrosis is a change in the microscopic structure of the liver because of liver inflammation. After many years of excessive alcohol consumption, liver fibrosis progresses to cirrhosis. Abstaining from alcohol may stop the fibrosis from further progression into significant or severe fibrosis and cirrhosis. The latter lead to complications of underlying diseases, including cancer.

Liver (Hepatocellular) Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about tests used to detect or screen for liver (hepatocellular) cancer.

Adult Primary Liver Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of adult primary liver cancer.

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More about Liver Biopsy

Photo of an adult

Also called: Liver Bx

See Also: Blood Tests, Imaging Tests

Other terms to know:
Laparoscopic Biopsy, Percutaneous Liver Biopsy, Transvenous Liver Biopsy

Keep up with systematic reviews on Liver Biopsy:


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