How liver biopsies are being made to be less painful

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A new method for liver biopsies is making a big difference for some patients.

Have you ever had a liver biopsy?

Now, there’s another option that’s more accurate, and much less painful.

Zachary Ross couldn’t ignore some symptoms that were bad and getting worse.

” I was in a lot of pain and uncomfortability in my abdomen, ” says Zachary Ross.

A liver biopsy was needed, but finding one that could deliver an accurate diagnosis wasn’t easy.

His first test took a sample from only one liver lobe.

Ann M. Chen, MD, Gastroenterologist at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center says, ” It’s taking a pretty big long needle, going through the skin and into the liver to get a piece of the tissue.”

Ross continues, ” You can watch it, and see it actually going into your abdomen to sit there and remove a chunk for this biopsy.”

” All that was obtained were fibrin, little pieces of clot, ” continues Chen.

Zachary’s doctors then tried a new approach called an endoscopic ultrasound liver biopsy.

Chen says, ” So, we can target a needle biopsy very nicely directly into the liver and thereby minimizing potential risks of perforation or bleeding.”

Longer tissue samples are taken from both lobes of the liver, increasing the likelihood of an accurate diagnosis to 90 percent.

” We were able to find a cause for his liver disease and help him avoid toxins that were affecting his liver, ” continues Chen.

Zachary Ross says, ” I was real happy that this one actually got results.”

Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, where Zachary had his procedure, is one of ten locations across the country that performs the endoscopic ultrasound liver biopsy.

The closest to our area is Chicago.

But that number is expected to increase as more doctors learn the technology.

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