Percutaneous liver biopsy (2042)

Key points below

Your child’s liver biopsy is scheduled for (date) ______________ at (time) ____________.Stop at the Welcome Desk for directions when you get to the hospital.  Some procedures are done in Day Surgery and some are done in Imaging (Radiology).If you need to cancel the procedure, please call the GI office at (414) 266-3690. If you are cancelling the morning of the procedure, please also call Day Surgery (414) 266-3536.

What is a percutaneous liver biopsy?liver

A liver biopsy is a test used to get a small piece of liver tissue.  The tissue is looked at under a microscope.  Percutaneous means the needle goes through the skin to reach the liver. 

When is it needed?

These risks are rare. They may mean your child needs emergency surgery after the liver biopsy:

Your child’s doctor will be able to:

How is the biopsy done?

Your child will be asleep during the procedure.  An IV is started to give your child medicine for sleep. This is called sedation. A needle is put in the liver for a few seconds to get the liver tissue. The tissue is sent to the lab. The procedure takes less than an hour.  Your child may have pain after the biopsy. Pain medicines will be given if needed.

What will happen before the procedure?

What will happen after the procedure? 

Your child will need to stay quiet in bed for 6 hours after the test. Your child’s nurse will watch your child.  The nurse will check your child’s blood pressure, heart rate and the biopsy area for bleeding.  If your child is in pain, medicine will be given.  A blood test will be done 4 hours after the procedure to make sure there are no changes from the earlier blood tests. 
There is a chance your child may need to stay overnight for monitoring. This is done to provide the best and safest care for your child.

What care is needed after leaving the hospital?

You will need to stay within a 30 minute drive of the hospital for the first 24 hours after the biopsy.  This is because a small number of patients may need to return to the hospital for care if there are signs of bleeding after leaving the hospital.  If needed, find a list of local hotels on the Children’s Wisconsin website:
There must be a parent or adult with your child to watch for any changes for 48 hours after the procedure.  After you leave the hospital, call (414) 266-2000 and have the GI Fellow paged if your child:

Bathing and wound care

Keep the foam pressure dressing on for 24 hours. Change it to a regular Band-Aid after 24 hours.  Your child can shower after 48 hours. Keep the area clean and dry during healing. The wound should not be under water until the steri-strips have fallen off. Call the clinic If any drainage or pus starts or there is more swelling, redness or pain in the area.


Your child will need rest after the procedure. The next day, your child may return to quiet activities. There should not be any heavy activity, heavy lifting, rough play or contact sports for one week. Your child should not go swimming or take a bath until the biopsy site is healed.  This is about 7 to 10 days.  A regular shower is allowed.

When will the results be ready?

The results of the biopsy will be back in about 7 to 10 days. There are several steps in the process that need to take place before a plan can be made.  The nurse from the clinic will call you as soon as this information is available.


Call your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic if you have any questions or concerns or if your child has:

  • Any signs listed above within 48 hours of the procedure.  You must call the GI Fellow to get directions for returning to the hospital for care:  414-266-2000.