Liver biopsy: effects of biopsy needle caliber on bleeding and tissue recovery

Radiology. 1997 Jul;204(1):101-4. doi: 10.1148/radiology.204.1.9205229.


Purpose: To evaluate different-caliber biopsy cutting needles in terms of the benefits and potential risk of bleeding in a swine model.

Materials and methods: A total of 190 sequential liver biopsy specimens were obtained in 11 Yorkshire pigs (weight, 50-70 lb [22.5-31.5 kg]) by using 14-, 18-, and 20-gauge cutting needles. For each biopsy procedure, blood loss was determined by weighing sponges used to absorb bleeding, and sample-tissue DNA content was measured with spectrofluorometry. Analysis of variance was used to compare results.

Results: The larger the caliber of needle, the greater the absolute blood loss (for 14-gauge, 1.69 g; for 18-gauge, 0.74 g; for 20-gauge, 0.32 g) and DNA content per sample (for 14 gauge, 40.38 microg; for 18-gauge, 12.18 microg; for 20-gauge, 5.86 microg). The ratio of blood loss to amount of DNA recovered did not differ among the different-caliber needles. To obtain the same amount of diagnostic tissue, more passes were needed with the smaller-caliber needles.

Conclusion: Use of larger-caliber needles is more efficient despite the greater amount of blood loss, because more tissue can be recovered and because fewer passes are necessary, which reduces the chances of complications.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Biopsy, Needle / instrumentation*
  • DNA / analysis
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Equipment Design
  • Hemorrhage / etiology*
  • Liver Diseases / pathology*
  • Needles / adverse effects*
  • Needles / standards*
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence
  • Swine
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wound Healing


  • DNA