Liver biopsy in the 21st century: where and why?

Adrian Griffiths, Charlie H Viiala and John K Olynyk
Med J Aust 2002; 176 (2): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2002.tb04282.x
Published online: 21 January 2002

Percutaneous liver biopsy, a technique first accredited to Paul Ehrlich over 100 years ago, is still considered an essential component in the management of most liver diseases. However, the revolution in imaging techniques and development of serological investigations means that, at least for certain conditions, biopsy may no longer be necessary.

  • Department of Medicine, University of Western Australia and Department of Gastroenterology, Fremantle Hospital, Fremantle, WA.


  • 1. Piccinino F, Sagnelli E, Pasquale G, Giusti G. Complications following percutaneous liver biopsy, a multi-centre retrospective on 68,276 biopsies. J Hepatol 1986; 2: 165-173.
  • 2. Bravo AA, Sheth SG, Chopra S. Liver biopsy. N Engl J Med 2001; 344: 495-500.
  • 3. Vautier G, Scott B, Jenkins D. Liver biopsy: blind or guided? BMJ 1994; 309: 1455-1456.
  • 4. Van Leeuwen DJ, Wilson L, Crowe DR. Liver biopsy in the mid-1990's: questions and answers. Semin Liver Dis 1995; 15: 340-359.
  • 5. Froehlich F, Lamy O, Fried M, Gonvers JJ. Practice and complications of liver biopsy. Results of a nationwide survey in Switzerland. Dig Dis Sci 1993; 38: 1480-1484.
  • 6. Perrault J, McGill DB, Ott BJ, Taylor WF. Liver biopsy: complications in 1000 inpatients and outpatients. Gastroenterology 1978; 74: 103-106.
  • 7. Jacobs WH, Goldberg SB. Statement on outpatient percutaneous liver biopsy. Dig Dis Sci 1989; 34: 322-323.
  • 8. Grant A, Neuberger J. Guidelines on the use of liver biopsy in clinical practice. British Society of Gastroenterology. Gut 1999; 45(Suppl 4): IV1-IV11.
  • 9. Pokorny CS, Waterland M. Short-stay, out-of-hospital, radiologically guided liver biopsy. Med J Aust 2002; 176: 67-69. <eMJA full text>
  • 10. Yusoff IF, Mollison L, Totten L, Olynyk JK. Liver biopsy in hepatitis C: reassessing its role in 2001 [letter]. Med J Aust 2002; 176: 89 <eMJA full text>.
  • 11. Saadeh S, Cammell G, Carey WD, et al. The role of liver biopsy in chronic hepatitis C. Hepatology 2001; 33: 196-200.
  • 12. Daniel S, Ben-Menachem T, Vasudevan G, et al. Prospective evaluation of unexplained chronic liver transaminase abnormalities in asymptomatic and symptomatic patients. Am J Gastroenterol 1999; 94: 3010-3014.
  • 13. Angulo P, Keach JC, Batts KP, Lindor KD. Independent predictors of liver fibrosis in patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Hepatology 1999; 30: 1356-1362.


remove_circle_outline Delete Author
add_circle_outline Add Author

Do you have any competing interests to declare? *

I/we agree to assign copyright to the Medical Journal of Australia and agree to the Conditions of publication *
I/we agree to the Terms of use of the Medical Journal of Australia *
Email me when people comment on this article

Online responses are no longer available. Please refer to our instructions for authors page for more information.