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Transjugular Liver Biopsy

Many different diseases can cause liver inflammation. Blood work can help us discover liver inflammation and narrow down the cause of that inflammation, but often we require a small piece of the liver to learn the exact problem.  Additionally, after inflammation occurs, the liver can regenerate and/or lay down scar tissue. A small piece of liver can help us assess how severe the inflammation was and how much scarring occurred.

There are two main ways to obtain a small piece of the liver. One is through the skin with ultrasound guidance. The other is by going through the vein of the neck (the jugular vein), through the veins of the chest, and into the veins of the liver. This second way lets us take pictures of the veins, measure their pressures to assess for portal hypertension - a complication of liver fibrosis - and obtain samples of the liver.

The procedure has a low risk of bleeding, infection, and damage to nearby organs. We typically perform this procedure for both inpatients and outpatients. All patients should refrain from eating and drinking for 6 hours prior to the procedure. Inpatients can return to their room after an hour of monitoring. Outpatients can go home 3 hours after the procedure.

Doctors performing Transjugular Liver Biopsy

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