A liver biopsy is a safe procedure when performed by an experienced doctor. Possible risks include:

  • Pain. Pain at the biopsy site is the most common complication after a liver biopsy. Pain after a liver biopsy is usually a mild discomfort. If pain makes you uncomfortable, you may be given a narcotic pain medication, such as acetaminophen with codeine (Tylenol with Codeine).
  • Bleeding. Bleeding can occur after a liver biopsy. Excessive bleeding may require you to be hospitalized for a blood transfusion or surgery to stop the bleeding.
  • Infection. Rarely, bacteria may enter the abdominal cavity or bloodstream.
  • Accidental injury to a nearby organ. In rare instances, the needle may stick another internal organ, such as the gallbladder or a lung, during a liver biopsy.

In a transjugular procedure, a thin tube is inserted through a large vein in your neck and passed down into the vein that runs through your liver. If you have a transjugular liver biopsy, other infrequent risks include:

  • Collection of blood (hematoma) in the neck. Blood may pool around the site where the catheter was inserted, potentially causing pain and swelling.
  • Temporary problems with the facial nerves. Rarely, the transjugular procedure can injure nerves and affect the face and eyes, causing short-term problems, such as a drooping eyelid.
  • Temporary voice problems. You may be hoarse, have a weak voice or lose your voice for a short time.
  • Puncture of the lung. If the needle accidentally sticks your lung, the result may be a collapsed lung (pneumothorax).
Dec. 04, 2014