A liver biopsy is a procedure that involves taking a tiny specimen of the liver for examination under a microscope. In most cases,a liver biopsy is taken through the skin by passing a fine needle through into the liver.A transjugular liver biopsy (TJLBx) is an alternative way of obtaining the liver specimen, by passing the needle through the vein in the neck (jugular vein). This method is used in patients who have abnormal clotting of the blood or fluid collecting with in their abdomen. This technique is used to reduce the risk of bleeding after the biopsy.

The doctors looking after you have decided that a liver biopsy is needed to find out more information about your liver problem. The information gained from the biopsy will help them treat your condition.

You will be taken back to the ward on a trolley. Nurses on the ward will carry out routine observations, such as taking your pulse and blood pressure, to make sure that there are no problems. You will generally stay in bed for a few hours, until you have recovered. Assuming you are feeling well, you will normally be discharged home on the same day.

The biopsy specimens will be sent for examination. Once the results are available, your doctors will discuss them with you.

TJLBx is a safe procedure, but as with any medical procedure there are some risks and complications that can arise. The over all risk of a problem requiring further treatment is low (one to two per cent).The main risk is bleeding after the biopsy. However, a TJLBx carries a lower risk of bleeding than a conventional liver biopsy taken through the side of the abdomen (stomach).