Dr. Jones may ask patients to see another doctor for a liver biopsy procedure. This procedure is typically ordered when a liver problem is difficult to diagnose with blood tests or imaging techniques, such as ultrasound and x-ray. A liver biopsy might also be performed to estimate the degree of liver damage—a process called staging—that helps guide treatment.

During the procedure, a small piece of the liver is removed so it can be examined with a microscope for signs of damage or disease. The three main types of liver biopsy are percutaneous, transvenous, and laparoscopic.