Liver Biopsy

Read these instructions at least a week before you come for your procedure.

What is a liver biopsy?

A liver biopsy is a test during which a doctor uses a needle to remove a small piece of tissue from the liver.
This tissue is sent to the laboratory to evaluate the condition of the liver tissue and extent of any liver disease.

How do I get ready?

Within six months of your liver biopsy:
An ultrasound, CT, or MRI of the abdomen must be done to see the size of the liver and see if there are any abnormalities. Talk to your doctor and make sure he/she has had one of these tests done. Your doctor should fax these results to 407-384-7391.

Within six weeks of your liver biopsy:

Blood tests must be done to see how well the blood clots. Talk to your doctor and make sure he/she has had these tests done. Your doctor should fax these results to 407-384-7391.

One week before the biopsy:

  • Do not take Aspirin, Advil, Aleve, Ecotrin, Bufferin, Nuprin, Excedrin and/or Ibuprofen for seven days before your biopsy. Ask your doctor if Tylenol (acetaminophen), Celebrex, or Mobic are okay to take.
  • If you use Coumadin (Warfarin) or Plavix, contact your doctor about stopping it for 5-7 days.
  • If you are a diabetic, contact your doctor about adjusting the dose of insulin or blood sugar pills the day of the biopsy.


Day of the biopsy:

  • You may shower as usual the morning of the procedure.
  • Do not have any solid foods or milk products after midnight.
  • You may have clear liquids until 4 hours before your exam, then nothing at all until after your biopsy. Clear liquids include water, soda, broth, bouillon, coffee, tea, Kool-Aid, clear juices, Gatorade, Jello, and popsicles.
  • You may take your blood pressure medicine and any heart medicines with a sip of water.
  • You may bring mints, gum, or hard candy to keep your mouth moist. Please bring reading materials or radio with headphones to help you pass the time. You will be observed for several hours after your biopsy.
  • Bring a list of current medications and medication allergies with you.
  • Bring someone with you to drive you home. You will not be allowed to drive the rest of the day.


However, please limit the number of people you bring with you to our waiting room. If you do not have a driver your procedure may be canceled or rescheduled.

Arrive at the hospital one hour before your appointment to allow for parking and registration at radiology department.


  • When you arrive at the hospital, walk through the main entrance and ask the hospital receptionist to direct you to the Radiology Department.
  • Enter our waiting room and check-in at the reception desk.
  • After check-in, you will be called to register.
  • After registration, you will be called to the procedure area.
  • Please keep in mind that appointments are approximate times. If a delay occurs we will do our best to update you.


What will happen during the biopsy?

  • A doctor will explain the benefits and risks of the procedure to you and ask you to sign a consent form giving the doctor permission to perform the biopsy. Ask him/her any questions you might have.
  • You will have a needle (IV) put into your arm to give you medicines and fluids during the test.
  • During the procedure, you will be asked to lay on your back with your right arm above your head. The doctor will feel for the outline of your liver and select the biopsy site. An ultrasound device may be used to determine the best site for the biopsy. This area will be washed and covered with towels.
  • You will receive some numbing medication at this site. This may feel like a bee sting. The doctor will ask you to breathe in and out and then hold your breath. As you hold your breath, a needle will be inserted into the site. You may feel some pressure as the needle is inserted.


What will happen after the biopsy?

  • A bandage will be placed over the biopsy site.
  • You will be taken to the Recovery Room where you will lie on your right side for 1-4 hours.
  • Your blood pressure, pulse, and oxygen level will be checked frequently.
  • You may feel some discomfort on your right side, mid-abdomen and/or in your right shoulder.


After you leave the DHCOE:

  • Your right side may feel sore for a few days.
  • The site will be covered with a band-aid.
  • You may shower/bathe.
  • If you have fever, chills, weakness, dizziness, severe right-sided pain, or pass a black bowel movement, please go to the nearest emergency room.


What should I do after the biopsy?

  • Do not lift heavy objects (greater than five pounds) for at least two days.
  • Do not take Aspirin, Advil, Ecotrin, Bufferin, Nuprin, Excedrin, Aleve, or Ibuprofen for seven days.
  • You may take acetaminophen (Tylenol) moderately for minor pain if approved by the doctor. Avoid all alcohol during this time.
  • You may resume your regular diet.
  • A work excuse is available upon request.


The results of your test will be sent to the doctor who referred you for the biopsy in 1-2 weeks. Please contact the physician who ordered your procedure to obtain your test results.