A liver biopsy may be done to look for the cause of liver abnormalities, to assess if, and how much, the liver is damaged and/or to help in planning treatment.
This procedure is done under a general anaesthesia using minimally invasive instruments. Two small (1-2cm) skin incisions are made in the abdomen to allow for instrumentation to enter the abdominal cavity. A special biopsy needle is used to take small slithers of liver tissue samples. These samples are sent to the laboratory for special testing. The results of the biopsies usually takes 5-7 working days to become available.
The complications of laparoscopic liver biopsy include a vasovagal reaction to the gas being pumped into the stomach cavity usually easily controlled with decreasing the pressure of the gas, seizure, abdominal wall bleed, which is usually minor, injury to the stomach or bowel, bleeding from the bile ducts and prolonged abdominal pain. The most common complication is bleeding from the liver surface, this risk is lower with this approach as opposed to sonar guided liver biopsies because we burn the liver surface over the puncture site during the procedure.
After your consultation:
- Obtain authorization from your medical aid and book your bed for your hospital admission.
- Carefully read through pre-operative information provided.
Day before surgery:
- Do not eat/drink after 22h00, the night before your surgery, unless otherwise specified by your surgeon or anaesthetist (you should be fasting for at least 6 hours before the procedure for solids but you are allowed to take clear liquids up to two hours before your procedure).
Day of surgery:
- Arrive for admission at indicated time on ‘Code & Consent’ sheet.
- Change into theatre attire, remove all valuable belongings.
Approximately 45 – 60 minutes
Duration of hospital stay:
- Usually 1 – 2 days
- Refrain from strenuous activities (incl. exercise) for at least 4 weeks post-operatively.
Back to work:
- Sick leave required post-operatively is approximately 5 days in total.
Some pain and discomfort post operatively may be expected following any operation, but the following measures are used to lessen the pain experienced:
- Warming devises in theatre as well as warm intravenous fluids.
- Intra-operative pain medication through the drip.
- Post-operative medication through the drip, please inform the nurses if you are in pain so that medication will be administered to you.
- As close to one week after discharge as possible. Please contact the rooms to schedule an appointment.