Tests & Procedures

At Minnesota Gastroenterology, we know that patients and families want to know as much as possible about the test and/or procedure that is being recommended by a healthcare provider.  Refer to the list below to find the information that is most helpful to you.  If you still have questions, please contact us through our website Quick Links or call (612) 871-1145 to make an office appointment.

A B C E F G H I L M N P S U

Percutaneous Liver Biopsy

If you have diabetes, ask your regular doctor for diet and medication restrictions.
If you take a medication to thin your blood (such as Coumadin or Plavix) and have not already discussed this with our office, please call us at 612-871-1145.
If you are or may be pregnant, please discuss the risks and benefits of this procedure with your doctor.
You must arrange for a ride for the day of your exam. If you fail to arrange transportation with a responsible adult, your procedure will need to be cancelled and rescheduled.
If you must cancel or reschedule your appointment, please call 612-871-1145 as soon as possible.

Preparation

To ensure a successful exam, please follow all instructions carefully. Failure to accurately and completely prepare for your exam may result in the need for an additional procedure and both procedures will be billed to your insurance.

The day of your procedure:
4 hours
before your procedure:

  • Do not eat or drink anything
  • Unless otherwise instructed, take your usual medication with a 4 oz. (1/2 glass) of water the morning of your procedure (at least 4 hours before your scheduled appointment)

When you leave for the procedure:

  • Bring a list of all of your current medications, including any allergy or over-the-counter medications.
  • Bring a photo ID as well as up-to-date insurance information, such as your insurance card and any referral forms that might be required by your payer.
  • Co-pays are required on the day of your appointment.

 

Description of Percutaneous Liver Biopsy

What is a percutaneous liver biopsy?
The percutaneous liver biopsy is a procedure which is well tolerated and is valuable in the diagnosis and management of liver disease. The biopsy involves taking a tiny specimen of liver tissue with a needle. It is done in the outpatient area, Radiology, or in the Gastroenterology department of the hospital.

There are many types of liver disease and each type requires specialized treatment. While x-rays, ultrasounds, and blood work are helpful, the liver biopsy is an important step in establishing an accurate diagnosis to allow the physician to manage your medical care more precisely.

What should I expect during the procedure?
The liver biopsy is a brief procedure. The liver biopsy itself takes 10-15 minutes, but you will need to be observed for a few hours after the procedure so plan to spend 5-6 hours at the hospital. The physician will inject a local anesthetic into a small area between your lower ribs on the right side before inserting the biopsy needle. You will be instructed to hold your breath during the procedure. While the biopsy is well tolerated, you will experience some discomfort. In addition, you may experience referred pain (pain in a location other than your biopsy site).

What should I expect after the liver biopsy?
After the biopsy has been completed, you will be asked to lie on your right side for one hour followed by up to 5 hours of quiet bed-rest at the hospital. A nurse will check your vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, respiration) at regular intervals. If you have been given sedation medications during the procedure you will not be allowed to drive, take a taxi, or ride the bus. You will not be able to engage in heavy lifting or strenuous activity for 1 week or as directed by your doctor. You will need to take precautions to avoid direct injury to your biopsy area. Your physician will prescribe pain medication as needed. You may return to work the next day.

What are the possible complications of a percutaneous liver biopsy?
If the physician is unable to obtain an adequate specimen, the biopsy may need to be repeated. Liver biopsy is safe and associated with low risk. Complications can occur but are uncommon. Possible risks include:

  • Bleeding: Because the liver is well supplied with blood, bleeding can occur at the biopsy site. Precautions are taken before, during, and after the procedure to reduce this risk.
  • Infection: Although rare, the lung, intestine, or gallbladder could possibly be pierced by the biopsy needle. Infection could result.
  • Local irritation of the vein: If you are given intravenous sedation, minor localized irritation of the vein may occur at the site of medication injection.
  • Drug reaction: As with any medication, drug reactions are possible.
  • Severe pain: Minor discomfort is to be expected for a few days after the procedure.

Contact your doctor if any of these conditions are noted.