Liver biopsy

Last updated: Monday, 05, April, 2004

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Item Process
Specimen

Fine needle aspiration biopsy, needle core, wedge biopsy, laparoscopic biopsy, transjugular biopsy or partial hepatectomy.

Method

Fresh tissue: frozen section, microbiology culture, enzyme or chemical analysis, molecular genetics. 

Fixed tissue: light microscopy, immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy (special fixative). If glucogen storage disease is suspected fix in alcohol, fine needle aspirate biopsy, PCR.

Application

Investigation of abnormal liver function tests;
hepatitis;
chronic liver disease;
hepatic infiltrations; and
metabolic disorders (eg, haemochromatosis, Wilson's disease, glycogen storage disease). 

The evaluation of post-transplant liver. 

The diagnosis and/or staging of primary and metastatic carcinoma and lymphoma.

Interpretation

Identification of aetiology, categorisation and prognosis of acute and chronic liver disease;
identification of infecting organisms, tumour type and stage;
identification of storage diseases; and
enzyme deficiency disorders.

Reference

Geller SA and Pitman MB. In: MacSween RNM et al eds. Pathology of the Liver. 4th ed. Churchill Livingstone 2002.