HF 6134

Liver Biopsy in Ultrasound/Abdominal Imaging

Your doctor has scheduled a biopsy to be done on ____________. Please report to Radiology (G3/3) on the 3rd floor at ______. 

Before the biopsy, our doctors will explain what will happen, answer any questions, and ask you to sign a consent form.

Liver Biopsy

A biopsy removes a small tissue sample from your liver. The procedure is guided by ultrasound. Ultrasound makes pictures from sound waves which reflect the tissues. No radiation or “x-ray” is used.

Getting Ready

If you take blood thinners such as Coumadin® (warfarin), heparin, Plavix®, ibuprofen, naproxen, or daily aspirin, you will need to stop them for some time before and after the biopsy. Someone from Ultrasound will call your doctor and discuss when you should stop and restart taking it. 

If you have diabetes, please call your doctor to discuss how your medicine doses should change before the biopsy. Test your blood sugar more often when you can’t eat as well as before the procedure. If your blood sugar level is low (less than 70 mg/dl) or you have symptoms, eat some glucose tablets or drink 4 ounces of a clear liquid with sugar. Always recheck your blood sugar level to make sure it stays above 70. 

We may still be able to do the procedure unless you need to eat solid food to keep your blood sugar at a normal level. If the blood sugar ever gets too high or too low and you can’t bring it back to normal, call your local doctor or diabetes doctor.

Stop eating 6 hours _________ before the procedure. You may drink clear liquids until 2 hours __________ before the procedure. This includes black coffee, tea, water, and juices without pulp that you can see through.

We get you ready for the biopsy in our prep and recovery area. We will start an IV and check your vitals. We want to make sure you can safely have the procedure and sedation. 

We may draw blood for a platelet count and INR. This will be done when your IV is started.

You are awake for the procedure. We may give you may midazolam and fentanyl in your IV to help mildly sedate you. 

Please tell the nurse if you have sleep apnea. If you use a CPAP machine, you may bring it with you so you can use it during the procedure. 

Someone must drive you home if you receive any sedation medicines. You should not drive or make important decisions until the next day.

During the Biopsy

Be sure to tell the radiologists if you have any allergies (medicines, antibiotics, anesthetic agents, etc.).

We will give you fluids through your IV. 

After a review of your x-rays, the radiologist uses an ultrasound to mark an area to insert the needle. After this, the area is cleaned with soap. The skin around the site is numbed so you will have little pain. Most patients feel pressure, but not major pain.

Using ultrasound, the doctor will take the tissue sample out with a special needle. We may take one or more samples. The tissue samples are then sent to the lab.

After the Biopsy

You cannot eat or drink for 1 hour.

You will have a bandage over where the sample was taken. You remain in bed for about 2 hours. You can still get up to use the bathroom but should call for the nurse for help. You may be at a greater risk of falling if you had sedation medicine. 

We will check your vitals and biopsy site often. After about 2 hours, you will be discharged if there are no problems.

After the local numbing medicine wears off, you may feel some pain at the site. Your pain should not be severe but you may feel sore. If you have pain, use Tylenol® or ibuprofen up to 3 times daily. You may talk to the doctor or nurse if you have questions about the dose. The pain should go away within the first 24 hours.

Tell the nurse if you have new pain, nausea, vomiting, or chills.

Your Care at Home

  • You may eat or drink what you like at home. Do not drink alcohol for the first 24 hours.

  • Rest for the first 24 hours. Do not lift over 10 pounds. Resume your normal routine after 24 hours.

  • You may remove the bandage over the site the next morning.

  • You may shower after 24 hours.

When to Call

  • If you have more than a teaspoon of bleeding at the site.

  • If you feel dizzy, faint or light-headed.

  • If your pain around the site gets worse 2-3 days later.

  • If you are not feeling well and have a fever over 100.4°F (38°C).

  • If you have any questions or problems once you are home.

Phone Numbers

Call Ultrasound at (608) 262-5279 between 7:30 am-4:30 pm or the nurse at 

(608) 261-5634. The toll-free number is:


After hours call your local doctor or go to your local ER.

Your doctor will discuss the results with you when they are ready.