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a man and his liver are shown with the three possible incision points for a biopsy

Preparing for a Liver Biopsy

This is a topic I try to avoid. Not in talking about, but rather experiencing myself. I have been lucky to have both the side biopsy to the liver and the transjugular way to the liver. When one thinks of both, we tend to get shivers thinking about it.

My experience with liver biopsies

My first biopsy was in 2006, shortly after my mother’s death from hep C. The doctors wanted to learn the stage of my liver, as I was pressing them hard to be on treatment to cure what had just took my own mothers’ life. This was the biopsy through my side abdomen. At this time, my liver was only showing to be in stage one of the disease. They advised me that the then regime of interferon was very harsh and recommended I wait to treat.

Fast forward to 2010, I got very ill and was put into the hospital. Another liver biopsy was performed; This time it was a transjugular one and the results came back to be in stage 4.

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Types of liver biopsies

There are three basic types of liver biopsies:

Percutaneous: Also called a needle biopsy, this biopsy involves putting a thin needle through the abdomen and into the liver.

Transjugular: This procedure involves making a small incision at the neck. A thin, flexible tube is inserted through the neck’s jugular vein and into the liver. This method is used for people who have bleeding disorders.

Laparoscopic: This technique uses tube-like instruments that collect the sample through a small incision in the abdomen.

Going through this twice, I prefer the transjugular. For myself, the recovery time and such was less. But every patient is different and has their own recovery time.

Waiting for my results

I am currently getting ready to undergo another biopsy next week.  I have been on a post-clinical trial of seeing if a decompensated liver can regenerate after being cured of hep C. This trial was NO medication, only evaluations, and now at the end of my 5 year evaluation, we are doing a biopsy to see the results firsthand.

I will be preparing by fasting for 8 hours prior and having someone to take me home after the biopsy. This particular one will be the side abdomen again and I am excited to know the results.  This will give the doctors more known facts on a liver that was destroyed by hep C.

Share your tips: What helps you work through anxiety before or during a liver biopsy?

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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