Diagnosis of liver disease
Characterization of liver disease often requires a liver biopsy. Liver biopsy can be performed by standard approach (by passing a needle directly through the body wall and into the liver) or by transjugular approach. The transjugular approach is favored in patients who have high bleeding risk because it does not require passing a needle through the liver capsule (the surface of the liver).
An interventional radiologist uses ultrasound and X-rays to puncture the jugular vein and advance a small sheath into the vein draining the liver (hepatic vein). Through the sheath, a biopsy needle is passed through the vein wall and into the surrounding liver tissue to obtain samples. By using this technique, any bleeding that occurs from the biopsy will bleed into the hepatic vein, meaning no loss of blood by the patient.
There is still some risk of bleeding, if the biopsy needle passes into an artery or beyond the liver capsule. Small risk of infection or damage to surrounding structures.
Two hours of bed rest.
The results of the biopsy will be available to your referring physician in 1-3 days.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our IR physicians, please call 310-481-7545.