A.The latest method of liver biopsy appears to combine the best of the other two strategies. Called “guided biopsy,” it uses high-tech imaging (either by ultrasound or CT scan) to help doctors pinpoint abnormal areas of the liver to target with the standard needle biopsy. Unlike a laparoscopic biopsy, it requires no incisions and, unlike regular needle biopsy, it helps to spare healthy liver tissue from the damage that may be caused by random sampling.
The choice of biopsy method usually depends on a patient’s symptoms, as well as what type of biopsy the hospital staff is familiar with performing. After a piece of liver is removed through biopsy, the tissue is sent to a specialist called a pathologist to be analyzed under a microscope. The appearance of the liver cells can provide doctors with very specific information about what is wrong with the liver. For example, in fatty liver disease, fat accumulates in the liver cells, and they also appear inflamed.
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