Kids Health Info

Liver Biopsy

  • A liver biopsy is a procedure where a very small sample of the liver is taken with a needle. The sample is then sent to the laboratory for tests to help identify why your child has been unwell.

    Your child will need to have a blood test the day before having the biopsy. If you prefer, we can use a cream to numb your child's skin first.

    We will need to stop your child from eating and drinking for a few hours before they have the procedure.  This is called fasting and the nurse will be able to tell you when your child needs to stop eating.

    Your child will be asleep during the biopsy and he or she will not be distressed.

    See the Kids Health Info factsheet:  Reduce children's discomfort during tests and procedures



    Care after the procedure



    Your child will need to stay overnight in hospital for close monitoring after the procedure.  They should be able to go home the next morning after they have been reviewed by a doctor.




    Eating and drinking

    Once the anaesthetic or sedation wears off and your child is awake, the nurse will let you know when your child can eat and drink. They should start with fluids, increasing to some food if your child can tolerate it.


    Your child will need to rest in bed for six hours after the procedure and will only be able to get up to go to the toilet under supervision. After the six hours of rest, slow and gentle walking only is advised.


    Care at home

    Your child will be able to return to childcare or school the day after discharge.  Your child should not participate in contact sport or vigorous activity for one week after discharge.


    A small clear dressing or bandaid will cover the biopsy site when you go home. This should stay on for two days. It can then be removed, or left to fall off if your child prefers this.



    Contact a doctor if your child:


    • Has stomach pain or bloating that is continuous or becomes severe.
    • Bleeds from the biopsy site.
    • Has a fever above 38oC.
    • If you are worried for any other reason.

    If you have any questions or concerns:

    Call the hospital switchboard on (03) 9345 5522 and ask for the on-call gastroenterology doctor.


    Developed by RCH Gastroenterology Department 2003.  Reviewed January 2011

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This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.