Liver Biopsy (Transjugular)

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A transjugular liver biopsy is a procedure in which a catheter tube is inserted into the jugular vein in the neck, and guided by x-rays, is placed into the liver. A small needle is inserted into the tube and a sample of tissue is removed from the liver and examined and analyzed in a laboratory.

Need to Know

Nice to Know
  • You will be asked to change into a gown prior to the procedure
  • You may be instructed to fast prior to the biopsy
  • Prior to the procedure, you should provide your physician with a list of medications you are currently taking
  • X-rays are used to increase precision and guide the catheter tube


Why is This Exam Done?

Transjugular liver biopsies are typically performed after a person is diagnosed with a liver disease. The biopsy helps determine the cause and/or stage of the disease. Transjugular may be necessary for individuals with blood clotting issues.

What Will Happen During the Exam?

You will be given a local anesthetic to numb the neck area, and a drug will be administered intravenously to provide you with the most comfort possible.

Once the area is numb the physician will place the catheter through your neck and into the liver. A contrast dye will be inserted into the catheter, and x-rays will be taken to find the exact location of the catheter. Using the x-rays the physician will find the precise spot needed, and a needle will be inserted into the catheter.

The needle will be used to extract a small tissue sample. It is often necessary for multiple samples to be taken. Once the samples are drawn they will be sent to a laboratory.

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How Should I Prepare?

  • You will be asked to change into a gown prior to the procedure
  • Inform your physician of any medications you are currently taking
  • After the procedure you may be monitored by a nursing staff for a few hours
  • You will need to plan on having a friend or family member drive you home
  • You may experience some soreness after the procedure, so it’s best to avoid strenuous activity for 24 hours after the biopsy
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What Are the Benefits and Risks?

The benefits of Liver Biopsy (Transjugular):

  • Transjugular liver biopsies may be necessary for patients who experience issues with blood clotting
  • Recovery time is usually very quick. You should be back to a normal routine within 24 hours.
  • Transjugular liver biopsies can be necessary for an accurate diagnosis, so treatment may begin as necessary
  • Transjugular liver biopsies allow physicians the ability to use x-rays to maximize precision in guiding the catheter tube and needle
  • Little or no scaring is caused by the biopsy

Risks you should be aware of:

  • There is a very small chance that blood from the needle site may get into the liver. However, this is a very rare occurrence.
  • Patients may occur some minor pains after the procedure
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Where Can I Get This Exam?

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