Biopsy of a hepatic lesion will provide a histological diagnosis.
The biopsy is performed with a Trucut needle under ultrasound or CT guidance.
The following criteria should be met before a patient undergoes a liver biopsy:
- the prothrombin time should not exceed the control by more than 3 seconds
- the platelet count should exceed 100x10^9/l
- there should be no biliary dilatation or major ascites
- the patient should be able to hold his or her breath for longer than 20 seconds
- the patient should give informed consent
- mortality is a very rare complication (0.17%)
- haemorrhage (about 0.5%)
- biliary peritonitis - more common in patients with extrahepatic bile duct obstruction
- bacteraemia occurs in about 15% of cases