Im scheduled for a liver biopsy and I'm scared to death. Any advice on what to expect? Will it be painful?

I had a biopsy on my thyroid a few years ago and it was extremely painful! So this has me very worried and I really don't know what to expect so if there is anyone that has had one done can you give me an idea of what it will be like and how painful it will be. And if I ask for a sedative will they give me one?

6 Replies

  • You will be awake for the procedure and they will anaesthetise the area. I have had two done, one, where they went in through the right side and it was very quick and relatively pain free. The pain came afterwards because the area they went into is connected to a blood supply that goes into the shoulder and so I had referred pain because of that.

    The second one they went in through the front. I didn't find it that painful; you are aware of a slight pinch when the sample is taken and I was done by someone who was being supervised (so I guess learning), which meant it took quite a while to complete. So if you are concerned, it might be wise to say you want an experienced practitioner. There was no pain afterwards and the whole thing was relatively pain free. I personally don't find them traumatising and just try to lie back and get on with it, as I think the more relaxed you are, the easier it is.

    You will be left in a bed for a while (I can't remember how long) while they monitor your blood pressure etc and after that you....... Not really sure on this one since I was in hospital both times so staying in hospital anyway.

    I personally don't worry about them and tend to look at them more from the point of view that they will get a better picture of what is happening and therefore clearer as to how to move forward with my treatment.

    Try not to worry about it and I really hope it all goes well for you.

  • MC has explained it perfectly. You will be kept in hospital for a few hours (some times 6 or even up to 8) to monitor you in case of any problems. You are expected to lie down and lie pretty still for much of this. So my advice is

    1) Go to the toilet at the last possible moment before the procedure

    2) Take stuff to keep you occupied during the rest period: - books, ipad, music, whatever.

    3) If you get desperate for a wee, dont get up, press your hospital buzzer and the nurses will deal with it via bedpan or bottle (assume you are female).

    4) You are allowed paracetamol pain relief after if you need it, chances are you wont.

    5) Dont do any heavy lifting or anything strenous for at least 48 hours after, so if your job is physical take the day off after the procedure.

    6) Any worries after the procedure, ring the hospital ward again!

    7) If you think you want a relaxant, then get your GP to prescribe a small dose of Diazepam or similar BEFORE you go for your biopsy. The hospital dont give sedation for biopsies.

  • Hi Amypeppers

    I agree with both the other replies. Mine was painless until they take the sample and it just feels like you are being pinched by a child. I had to lay still for 9 hours but that was because my platelets were low. Normally if you are done in the morning you can go home in the evening.

    Ensure the last thing you do is go to the loo and just lie there and chill. I would have this done again anytime time unlike having a camera down your throat which hopefully I will never have to have again.

    Hope all goes well.

  • The camera thing is much better with sedation. I would never have it done without sedation again!

  • I tried it with and without sedation that's why never again!

  • Sorry about that. I forgot it doesn't work out for everyone the same as me!

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