Observe or treat? If treated, then how? The result of a liver biopsy will answer all questions.
7 years have passed since Anna (we do not give her real name at the patient request) completed the treatment for breast cancer. She passed diagnostics regularly and each time heard the most desirable doctor words: «You are healthy!» But this year changed everything: another ultrasound scan showed a tumor in the liver.
Doctors analyzed the results, conducted additional examinations and the nature of the formation was in doubt. There was a chance that the cancer returned and metastasis could form in the liver. The question required an urgent answer. The consultation decided to conduct a liver biopsy. Our specialists performed Anna biopsy under the supervision of ultrasound. The results of the analysis pleased: the node that brought so much anxiety to both the patient and the doctors turned out to be benign. This meant Anna is healthy. So such painless and short procedure helped doctors to determine the diagnosis and tell the patient good news.
It is likely that you had a question: «And if the formation turned out to be malignant?» There is one answer to this question: in this case, according to the results of a biopsy, our specialists could correctly prescribe and start treatment on time.
What is an image-controlled liver biopsy?
This is a procedure using a special needle to take liver cells for further investigation. Images are used to determine the position of the needle accurately and make the procedure safe avoiding complications.
There are two main imaging methods in the world: ultrasound and computed tomography.
We often use only ultrasound in our center, because our clinic is equipped with an expert-class apparatus, which allows the doctor to see even deep-seated formations. Thanks to advanced equipment and the experience of specialists we conduct targeted high-precision liver biopsy without radiation exposure to the patient. In rare cases when ultrasound is not enough we use CT or the most modern Fusion technology. It means a combination of ultrasound and computed tomography.
«We conduct a trukat biopsy of the liver that is we make a fence of a tissue sample. This is informative, it gives us high-quality material for analysis», — explains Oleg Goroshenko, head of the diagnostic department of TomoClinic and interventional radiologist.
When is a liver biopsy necessary?
If there is a formation in the liver, which is most likely malignant and you need to determine if it is the primary tumor or metastasis. The treatment tactics will depend on this.
When metastasis is detected, but it is not known where the primary tumor is in the patient’s body. In this case, according to the results of a biopsy, we conduct a molecular analysis and find out in which organ the primary tumor that has spread to the liver and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
If a node of incomprehensible origin is found on an ultrasound scan and it is necessary to determine whether the formation is malignant or benign. This is especially important for people who already had cancer: the story of our patient Anna is a vivid example of such a situation.
How to prepare for a liver biopsy?
Before the examination you will be prescribed a general blood test and a coagulogram to determine the time of blood coagulation in order to eliminate the risk of bleeding.
You should also tell your doctor about the medicines you are taking; tell you if you are allergic, especially to anesthesia. Your doctor may recommend you stop taking blood thinners a few days before the procedure. Tell your doctor about recent illnesses or chronic ones, if you have any.
You may need to adjust the dose of the drug, for example with diabetes.
Is a liver biopsy painless and how long does the procedure take?
A liver biopsy is performed under local anesthesia, which minimizes pain and discomfort. It usually takes 10-15 minutes for a preliminary ultrasound as well as for local anesthesia. The whole procedure can take about an hour.
After the procedure
During the biopsy and after we observe patients: checking the pulse and blood pressure; monitoring the general health. We perform a control ultrasound to exclude bleeding (not often, but there is such a side effect; we immediately take all the necessary measures to eliminate it). If everything is in order (there are no side effects, and the patient feels well), then after two hours you can return home. The results should be ready in a week.
What are the benefits of a liver biopsy under image control?
An image-controlled liver biopsy maximizes the chances of getting a good liver tissue sample and helps doctors answer questions about any potential liver anomaly or disease. Hardware control significantly reduces the risk of complications
Low-traumatic (minimally invasive) procedure that does not require surgery and general anesthesia
Reliable and highly accurate method for the diagnosis of malignant and benign tumors
Painless and minimal risk of complications
The recovery is short, the patient can quickly return to normal life
It is important. A liver biopsy under the control of an ultrasound or CT scan is a rare method for the diagnosis of liver diseases in Ukraine.
TomoClinic is one of the few cancer centers where this method is used widely and successfully. In our practice there are cases when patients seeking for help having the verdict «liver metastases», but specialists remove the oncological diagnosis on the results of a biopsy.
Who can answer the questions?
If you have any problems related to the diagnosis of liver diseases or if you have questions, call the numbers indicated on our website https://tomocenter.com.ua — the call is free from mobile and landline phones in Ukraine.