Ultrasound-Guided Liver Biopsy

Your doctor has requested a biopsy of your liver. A biopsy can help diagnose liver abnormalities including hepatitis, inflammation or malignancy. The procedure is performed with ultrasound guidance by a team of experts including an imaging physician, a diagnostic medical sonographer and a registered nurse. At the S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center we have an expert team of physicians, nurses and technologists who are highly trained in ultrasound imaging.

Why Choose the S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center for a biopsy?

Before Arriving for Your Exam

Do not take blood thinners, aspirin or aspirin-related medications for seven days before your procedure.

You must not eat or drink for eight hours before your procedure. You may take your prescribed medications with a small amount of water.

Some blood tests are required before a biopsy. If these have not been done before the day of the biopsy, you will be asked to arrive for your appointment at Cedars-Sinai two hours early, so the blood tests can be completed and reviewed.

We want to make any waiting time as pleasant as possible. Please consider bringing your favorite magazine, book or music player to help you pass the time.

You will not be allowed to drive home by yourself. Please arrange to have a family member or friend drive you home.

After Arriving

A radiology nurse will:

  • Ask you a few questions regarding your medical history
  • Do a brief clinical assessment (pulse, blood pressure, et cetera.)
  • Place a special plastic needle in a vein in your arm (intravenous line) before your exam

You will be asked to change into a hospital gown for your procedure.

The diagnostic medical sonographer and imaging physician will explain the procedure to you and answer any questions you may have.

The imaging physician will explain the risks and benefits of the exam before asking you to sign a consent form.

During Your Exam

You will be asked to lie on the examination table on your back.

Ultrasound images of your abdomen will be obtained to locate the precise area of biopsy.

A warm gel will be applied to your abdomen. This gel is very similar to hair styling gel. The gel allows sound waves to travel from the machine into your abdomen more easily.

A transducer, a small, microphone-like device, will be placed over the area being examined. There is no pain; however, you may feel mild pressure from the transducer.

Once the location is identified, the imaging physician will clean your abdomen and place sterile drapes over the work area.

The imaging physician will numb the biopsy site; however, you may experience a slight stinging sensation as the medication is injected.

As the medication takes affect, the imaging physician will explain how you should breathe during the actual biopsy and will ask you to practice that technique until you are comfortable with the instructions.

During the biopsy, a special needle device is used to remove a sample of your liver. You will hear a "staple gun-like" noise as the sample is taken.

After Your Exam

After your procedure you will be observed and monitored by a registered nurse for four hours.

You will be allowed to go to the restroom.

You may feel some discomfort at the site of the puncture, including some radiating pain to your shoulder.

Your ultrasound liver biopsy will be sent to the laboratory for analysis and a final report will be sent to your physician, usually within 72 hours.

Your doctor will discuss these results with you and explain what they mean in relation to your health.

If you have problems related to your procedure, please call (310) 423-8000.

To request a copy of your report, please call (310) 423-8000.

Directions and Parking Information 

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (310) 423-8000.

The S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center provides a full range of advanced imaging, both radiology and cardiology, as well as interventional radiology and interventional tumor (oncology) treatments to the greater Los Angeles area, including Beverly Hills, Encino, Mid-Cities, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, Studio City, Toluca Lake, and West Hollywood.