Liver biopsy recovery: How far did any... - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

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Liver biopsy recovery

witchiegirl profile image

How far did any of you take the 'taking it easy' thing after liver biopsy? The leaflet I have from hosp says ' no heavy lifting for a week to 2 weeks'.

If I am in overnight, is going home on the bus an option - 20 miles and I can get somebody to carry my bag!! What about if going home same day re bus travel? How soon do you feel 'back to normal' after biopsy?

Although I had a biopsy done before, memory is hazy - I seem to recall I had weekend off work, and returned after that to 'heavy lifting', and I had various toddlers at home then, so very much business as usual very soon. As this time, procedure done on a Friday.

I also read - on a US site, I think - that risks similar whether lying flat for 2 or 6 hrs . I have shoulder injury and cannot lie on right side, for more than 10 mins. I can lie on front though so okay for that. I hope.

How soon did you all get out and be 'allowed' to sit up? And were you sedated? last time they did sedate, I think - though i was breastfeeding so had minimal amounts, and still slept for hours, but watched procedure on screen and asked lots of questions. This time I am less interested and more terrified .... obv you have to stay awake though to breathe in at relevant moment.

Just reread leaflet - it states - avoid 'strenous activity' for 1-2 weeks. How do you define that?

Quite frankly, i am dreading this though i do want to get disease staged and sort it out, or as far as is possible.

11 Replies

I had my biopsy as an outpatient and was driven home with little or no instruction other than to observe the puncture site. I had been dreading the procedure having last seen one performed, as a nurse, about 40 years ago! Barbaric was all I could remember, what I experienced was simple and virtually pain free.

I had mine done three months ago. I just had one week off work then light duties there decision not mine. I wasn't sedated and they took three biopsies I had to lie flat for six hours. I had quite a lot of deferred shoulder pain after but they are very quick with pain relief. I stayed in overnight but was home by eight the next morning I hated it but so glad I had it done, I now know why I felt so ill and the medication is working well. Hope all goes well.

I had mine done 18ths ago. Went as an outpatient & once done had to lie on my side or back for 4 hours. Had nothing to eat or drink during this time. I also was not able to go to the toilet. After the 4 hours I was able to have water then after 5 hours a cup of tea & sandwiches plus at long last able to go to the toilet. Went home after 6 & advised to take it easy, I would have shoulder ache which normal painkillers helped to get rid of. Had mine done on the Thursday & went back to work on the Monday

I had mine few years back.. no sedation.. they kept me in overnight and the following day I went back to work..There was no real discomfort.. best to take it as it comes, don't worry yourself, I'm sure they will give you excellent advise on the day... hope all goes well

I had mine with a local anaesthetic into the site first, no sedation. Had to lie still for about 8 hours I think, no getting out of bed to pee - I asked for a bedpan and the nurses were fine about that. I was put on a general ward for the recovery period, and the staff had no idea they were supposed to check my blood pressure regularly for the first few hours (if it drops it can be a sign of an internal bleed, the liver is a notoriously 'bloody' organ, hence the instructions to rest and take things easy for a while while the puncture wound heals) - I had to remind them.

I went home again after about 8 hours. If you have travelled a long distance I can see why they would want you to stay overnight, if you live near and can get a taxi or lift then no reason not to go home again same day.

In the UK they are much stricter I think about staying still for x number of hours, some US hospitals let you out quicker I think.

I had no referred pain, but was careful about no heavy lifting for a few days.

Thanks for all your replies. It is amazing how the liver bx procedures differ acrossthe UK. i agree it does seem more relaxed in US too. When i had 1st biopsy 13 years ago the policy differed in the two units in the Scottish city I then lived and worked in - I was a patient in one (where they were much more cautious, even used laparoscopc guidance which meant i had a stitch in my tummy button too!), and the unit I worked in did it much as for tomorrow's - just ultrasound and then home after the rest period, often on same day. (My colleagues couldn't understand the fuss!) Though my slot isn't till midday so I may have to stay in. I'm a bit shocked at your tale of 'no obs', bolly - though i know these things do happen, and glad you knew to tell them! My big crisis tonight is I can't work out how to load my MP3 with music and the teenager with all the' geek' skills is out till after my bedtime - Ill need to go upstairs to search for my old steam driven Walkman! Anyway, thanks again for all your info. I do feel anxious but not beside myself - and it will be done and dusted by tomorrow evening. I know I just have to get it done and see what the next steps are.

Well I had a liver biopsy yesterday in Hull. I arrived at the hospital at 08.15, 09.00I went down (walked) to ultrasound dept, back on ward by trolly by 10.30, had to lay on right side untill 12.00, allowed to sit up by 14.00, allowed out of bed by 15.45, allowed home by 16.00, told to observe wound site and wear dressing for 1 week, to take it easy for couple of days, no driving for 2 days , no heavy lifting or strenuous activity for 5 days and was given food and drinks throughout the day, felt rough afterwards mind was taken home by car def would not have coped on a bus - does this help ?? oh been to work today and felt fine. Ann

Sorry didn't mention - no sedation just local anaesthetic, no pain relief although had a painkiller before I went to bed and a great night sleep was had.

My experience similar to that related by nannan although they did use some kind of x ray guidance guidance gadget when extracting the sample.

I had very good supervison from the nurses when resting in the recovery ward after the procedure and as I didn't have any pain I didn't require any pain relief medication although I recall a nurse did provide me with some to take home with me just in case I found I might need it later.( I didn't).

In and out of the hospital on the same day ( about 6-7 hours overall) . Did most things as normal the following day apart of course from heavy lifting.

Prior to undergoing the procedure I had read many horror stories and reports etc on forums etc similar to this one and as a consequence I was expecting a bad experience . Therefore it was a pleasant surprise as well as a relief when it did not occur.

I was probably also very fortunate that the person that did the biopsy was very experienced and had been doing them for about, I think he said 25-30 years or so,

Hope it all goes well and pain free for you.witchiegirl

Good luck

Well, I had biopsy yesterday as planned. Back home today - several mixed messages from staff about whether I'd get out last night or today, but doc ended up quoting 'protocol' which was to continue regular checks beyond the first six, which meant I got out next morning. It took me past the witching hour anyway! I do wish they'd all just 'sing from the same sheet' as i was led to believe I'd get home last night by various staff members suggesting it. No idea whether my 'team' were jsut being overcautious.

Having said that, i did feel less sore today than last night when first up moving around.(We came home on the bus! and had nice cuppa in a cafe whilst waiting for 2nd bus). So we are £30 richer as last night we'd have used a taxi! I did have pain in shoulder tip for several hours - not pleasant - and also pain at time of biopsy, despite the local. Irritation around the liver capsule, it seems. Also pain when I breathed in deeply just after the biopsy - poor doctor, she came to see me twice on the ward afterwards! Though i did feel much better quite soon, so obviously nothing serious .I can't say it was pleasant experience - the earlier one was better, less painful - but I'm relieved it's done and accept it was necessary. I hope I won't need many more, and think i may ask for light sedation if there's a next time as I was more anxious this time too. Partly because I was a 'HP in denial' last time - never expected to have anything wrong with ME. Now I know the truth, sadly. I am still aching around site when i move around, and tired (partly due to a night in a hospital room with an agitated elderly woman) - but fine really. Glad to be in my own bed now.

Tomorrow i plan to read a novel and watch a film, maybe have a wee stroll, in the ?snow - the family can do the work! At least they aren't toddlers any more. My dressing came off this PM and I can't find my box of dressings and too tired to look. I think i was told 24 hrs though for dressing - will keep eye on it. I liked the staff, esp in ultrasound/biopsy suite - they were lovely to me, explained everything as they went along.

Hi witchie. Glad to hear you are home and feeling a bit better. I had a second biopsy last week due to elevated ALT and a suspicion of autoimmune AIH. It was in a different hospital to the one I wrote about above, and a slightly different experience. This time I knew what was coming so asked for Diazepam, and had that a couple of hours before the procedure. That 'chilled' me a bit which was good. I could have asked for 'sedation' apparently, but if you have that it means nil by mouth for a while afterwards, so I went for the Diazepam instead. Ultrasound guided as before, and most of the procedure time was taken up with the radiographer picking the right spot as I have cirrhosis and have had a liver resection for cancer, so they have to be careful. Two injections of local anaesthetic which stang like a bee sting. Biopsy needle caused me the same referred pain you had, both during the procedure and for a couple of hours after. Uncomfortable breathing deeply and an unpleasant ache in the chest/shoulder. It was too uncomfortable to lie on my side which they wanted, so I lay on my back. Like you I was told it was pain from the liver capsule, not the liver itself. I was on a gastro ward this time, so they did the obs properly. Every 15 minutes for the first hour I think, then every 30 minutes for another 2 hours, then 4 hourly through the night. I stayed in as the procedure didnt take place til 4pm and with the 4 hours resting it was 8pm and too late to be discharged. I live an hours drive away. I was allowed to eat and drink immediately after the procedure and was mobile again in 4 hours. Fine the next day and went home but advised to go gentle for a few days and no heavy lifting. I was tired too as like you found you dont get much peace and quiet in hospital. I took a bath the day I got home and took the dressing off same day.

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