Why not have an ultrasound instead of liver biopsy?

They both have value. Ultrasound is a good screen for some conditions like tumors or cysts. Biopsy ismore useful to confirm the suspicious diagnosis. So most patientss need both tests.
Determine diagnosis. Ultrasound is helpful for detecting liver disease, but does not grade the severitiy. There are many forms of liver disease that u/s can diagnose, but early cirrhosis, hepatitis, and staging these disorders requires a liver biopsy.
See below. A liver biopsy is an invasive procedure that carries more risk than a noninvasive ultrasound. If something can be answered by an us, us would probably be better. If you already have a known diagnosis of cirrhosis, lab works, us or ct or mr can be used to survey the liver periodically for tumor.

Related Questions

I had a fatty infiltration of the liver show up on a ultrasound for either my kidneys or gallbladder cant remember. Does that warrant a liver biopsy?

Probably not. If there is a definable cause then no. Even a single night of binge drinking can cause it, as can being overweight, chronic drinking, or medications. Only if you have no reason to have fatty infiltration would you need a biopsy. Read more...