2 doctors weighed in:

Is a liver biopsy accurate? The liver’s pretty big, so isn’t it likely it could miss something? How can the doctor be sure he’s getting a sample of the damaged part?

2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Robert Andrews
Radiology - Interventional

In brief: If

If the goal is to get a general sample of liver tissue to evaluate for cirrhosis, venous obstructive disease, abnormal deposits of iron, or similar organ-wide problems, then a biopsy is pretty easy and "missing something" is unlikely.
The bigger the liver, the easier it is. On the other hand, if there is one specific spot in the liver that's abnormal, and your doctor is aiming for just that spot, then missing the target is more likely. In such situations, we usually have a pathologist present during the biopsy to look at the tissue as we collect it. The pathologist will not be able to make a final diagnosis in real time, be he or she should be able to say whether or not the tissue that's been collected will be adequate for making that final diagnosis.

In brief: If

If the goal is to get a general sample of liver tissue to evaluate for cirrhosis, venous obstructive disease, abnormal deposits of iron, or similar organ-wide problems, then a biopsy is pretty easy and "missing something" is unlikely.
The bigger the liver, the easier it is. On the other hand, if there is one specific spot in the liver that's abnormal, and your doctor is aiming for just that spot, then missing the target is more likely. In such situations, we usually have a pathologist present during the biopsy to look at the tissue as we collect it. The pathologist will not be able to make a final diagnosis in real time, be he or she should be able to say whether or not the tissue that's been collected will be adequate for making that final diagnosis.
Dr. Robert Andrews
Dr. Robert Andrews
Thank
Dr. Barry Kahn
Pathology

In brief: Liver biopsy

Many diseases that affect the liver, involve the liver uniformly so that a biopsy of a "random" area should show pertinent changes.
If there is a specific mass lesion that is being targeted, it is important to have the biopsy performed with some type of imaging guidance to insure obtaining pertinent tissue.

In brief: Liver biopsy

Many diseases that affect the liver, involve the liver uniformly so that a biopsy of a "random" area should show pertinent changes.
If there is a specific mass lesion that is being targeted, it is important to have the biopsy performed with some type of imaging guidance to insure obtaining pertinent tissue.
Dr. Barry Kahn
Dr. Barry Kahn
Thank
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