So what is a liver biopsy?
The word biopsy scares me. Obviously something is wrong with my liver, but needing to go through a procedure to take a sample of tissue makes all of this seem more real and scarier.
It’s important to understand what’s happening at a cellular level. By taking a small sample of liver tissue and looking at it under a microscope, a pathologist is able to observe abnormalities and provide a diagnosis.
In order to provide that small sample of liver tissue, I needed a doctor to stick a long 16 gauge needle through my ribs and into my liver.
It’s really important to prepare for all of this. The liver has a lot of blood flowing through it, so precautions have to be taken to prevent excessive bleeding. Generally you want to stay away from any medications that can promote bleeding. For me that meant discontinuing some of my vitamins and supplements.
This was the biggest procedure I’d gone through. For peace of mind, we ended up getting a hotel just down the road from the medical center area in San Antonio for the remainder of the week of the procedure for my recovery. There are concerns around complications involving internal bleeding and infection.
It was an early morning for us; we checked in at 5am. Monica wasn’t allowed to stay in the room with me for the procedure, so she was able to take off and get some work done.
To kick things off, I was given some Ativan and Norco to help with anxiety and pain. Once those took hold, the team used an ultrasound to find a good entry point for the needle. Then the doctor gave me a few shots of local anesthetic, the second deeper than the first. Then a little pressure, a “click” and then the hard part was all over.
The team monitored me for bleeding for a couple of hours and then Monica picked me up.
I slept the rest of the day (and the majority of the week). Monica picked up my tramadol prescription while I was out of it. It really helped the first few days with the pain.
I had a low grade fever develop by Thursday, but thankfully it turns out that was unrelated to my biopsy. I felt lucky; my biopsy recovery was nearly wrapped up by the time I started the dreaded Covid coughing.
By Saturday we were checking out and heading home. I’m really anxious about the results of this biopsy, given how bad the Fibroscan results were.