Percutaneous liver biopsy in clinical practice

Liver Int. 2007 Nov;27(9):1166-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1478-3231.2007.01592.x.


Percutaneous liver biopsy (PLB) is the standard procedure for obtaining hepatic tissue for histopathological examination, and remains an essential tool in the diagnosis and management of parenchymal liver diseases. The use of liver biopsy (LB) is increasing with the advent of liver transplantation and the progress being made in antiviral therapeutic agents. While blind percutaneous needle biopsy is the traditional technique, the use of ultrasound (US) guidance has increased considerably. Literatures were reviewed to assess the existing clinical practice of PLB with an emphasis on the technique, the operator, types of biopsy needles, quality of LB specimens and the risk of complications. The best available evidence indicates that the use of ultrasound-guided biopsy (UGB) is superior to blind needle biopsy (BNB). The odds ratios of the controlled studies showed that BNB carried a higher risk for major complications, postbiopsy pain and biopsy failure. Therefore, percutaneous LB under US control is superior to BNB and it is recommended that UGB be considered the standard of care for this important and widely used invasive procedure in the field of clinical hepatology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Humans
  • Liver / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver / pathology*
  • Liver Diseases / pathology*
  • Ultrasonography