Hepatitis C Community
Liver Biopsy
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Liver Biopsy

I have just been diagnosed with Hepatitis C.  My doctor has ordered a liver biopsy, and my limited knowledge has me worrying about the procedure.  If you have had this procedure, will you tell me something about it.  Is it very painful?  How is it done?  Is there after-pain?  Do they diagnose just for cirrohsis, or test for cancer as well?  I know I could ask my doctor all of these questions, but I doubt he has had the procedure done himself....know what I mean?  At the time of my first visit with him, I was still too stunned to think of these questions.  Then I found this forum, thankfully!  I appreciate all of your comments.  Thank you very much.
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Avatar_n_tn
my husband just had a bisopy done and he was scared to death. he said that it was a piece of cake. the doctor that is going to do it should consult with you before he does it. the only thing my husband felt was the needle going in his side to deadin the liver. he had no pain or anything after the biospy. they will check the liver for a number of things not just for cirrohsis of the liver. make you a list of question to ask your doctor that is important.
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Avatar_n_tn
The biopsy is no bigee. They lay you on your left side, you have to remain still for about 1 hour afterwards, give you a little Demerol for what they called legion pain which for me was an aching in my right shoulder just after the procedure. Still no big deal. Some local anestetic and a spring loaded syringe that goes in painlessly and they pop out a skinny little cross section. The sample (in my case ) went to the hospital lab and also to the Mayo Clinic for evaluation. This will tell the progression of cirrosis (cirrhosis) and the overall condition of the liver. A follow-up procedure was an ultrsound to get a picture of any scarring, other damage and cancer flags. Mine resulted in a tumor flag which I was told can usually be discounted as a false reading due to the hep c damage to the liver. Don't be afraid to ask your Doc every question you have asked here. From experience the faster you get to "know" and trust your Doc the better things might go for you. Good Luck....I'm finishing my last shot tonite so I'm a little giddy and might just be rambling on.  ~Neal~
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Avatar_n_tn
When I had my biopsy, all I felt was a little pressure. The only advice I can give is to make sure it's a ultra sound guided biopsy. There may or may not be a little pain after, but if there is, ask for pain meds. I know it's very scary, but after you'll wonder why you were scared. Welcome to our forum. Sorry you needed it, but this is a great place for info, support and even humor. There are some very, very knowlegable people here and you'll probably hear from alot of them w/ this question, cause most of us have been there.    Joni
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Avatar_n_tn
We only get 6 question threads a day, so please, from now on ask any other question on the thread you already started. Thanx
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you so much for your comments!  I am already beginning to feel a little easier about the biopsy.  I appreciate your advice to talk to my doctor about my questions and concerns.  I know it is paramount to have a good relationship with him.  The doctor also treats my husband who was diagnosed several months ago.  My husband was not able to have his liver biopsy due to his low platelet count.  He still has several months to go with his treatment, but his active Hep C is beginning to diminish.  I am glad to hear that you are completing your treatment,Neal! You have every right to be more than a little giddy!  I know I will be.  I still have so much to learn about this disease.  I have only known since the beginning of this week.  As frightened as I was by the diagnosis, it at least explains some of the symptoms I had been experiencing.  I am so thankful to have found this site.  I know I will be able to go through this with "a little help from my friends"!  Thank you again for your responses.  God Bless You.
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Avatar_f_tn
honey, couchpotato, and some others that fail my memory, are couples infected and treating together, you might find a lot in common with them. FEAR is a biggie in the begining and it eases as you learn more about your condition and begin to take action. Do you have children? if you do, You are probably afraid for them also, so don't be reluctant to share here if it eases your stress.
Welcome
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Avatar_f_tn
How long ago were you tested? My husband and I were together for almost 15 years now (except the one year we were divorced) and he has been tested 3 times now. (on my insistance) and has tested negative every time. The chances of passing this to a spouse is very slim. Just use basic common sense like no using his razor, no using his toothbrush. I even have seperate nail files, clippers, even tweezers. I wouldn't stress about it but would get tested again just to ease your mind if nothing else. Good Luck to you.  Kim
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Avatar_n_tn
how did you get hep c. i know you said that your husband has it and my husband does to i was tested and didnt have it but now im thinking about getting tested again. its scares me. do you think you got it from him?
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Avatar_n_tn
I understand how you feel.  I was very nervous at the thought of a liver biopsy.  I asked my dr. for as much pain killing meds as he could legally give me without killing me and I believe he did.  I never felt a thing!  No after effects, just slept through the whole procedure.
Very best of luck to you.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi-I've been lurking on the sidelines for a while. Great info. I was diagnosed about 4 months ago when I got a physical for key man insurance. After the initial stages of panic and the useless why mes, I got busy. I quit drinking, changed my diet and started working out on my bike 6-7 hours a week. I've dropped 45 pounds, ALT and AST have returned to normal ranges and I feel great. My GI now wants me to start treatment. However, he says that a liver biopsy isn't necessary. (????) His rationale is that the endoscopy showed no abnormalities, my physical condition is excellent and I show no other symptoms, my genotype is 2a or 2c, and my viral load is 8100. He said that the prognosis is so favorable that there is no question as to whether to treat-so why biopsy. I sure would appreciate some feedback. Thanks for all of the help that you have been and will be.
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Avatar_m_tn
Your GI's methodology on determining the health of your liver leaves alot to be desired. The reason a biopsy is done is to try and determine the current status of damage (if any) to the liver. Why is that important to know going into tx? Because if you were to be found to be at Stage 3, Stage 4 or cirrhosis, your options may be different than if you are at lower stages. A more damaged liver lowers the odds of SVR. Also, with a higher amount of damage, extending tx may come into play: 1.) to go longer to eradicate the virus and, 2.) to go longer to try and halt or reverse histological progression.

From what I have read here from geno 2 patients, it seems that some doctors are making the decision to just go ahead and treat this group without doing a biopsy because the odds of SVR are so high (approximately 90%+). That doesn't sit well with me. It certainly is great that the SVR chances are so good for geno 2's, but that is mutually exclusive from liver damage. I'd rather both I and my doctor know the state of my liver going in - to better know my course of treatment. Also, if there happens to be more extensive damage more post-tx care and monitoring would be necessary.

Think about this example, too. If a geno 2 goes ahead and does a 24 week tx after not having a biopsy and fails treatment, you can bet that the doc and patient would want to do a biopsy at that point in time - all after the fact.

I'd push for one before-hand. Short of that, I'd push for one of the biochemical markers (done via blood test) to try and determine histology. They include FibroTest, FibroSure and ActiTest. You would want to check with your insurace to verify coverage, but if it came to being paid out-of-pocket - from what I have read they cost around $300.


Best to you as you move into treatment.


TnHepGuy
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Avatar_n_tn
My son just started treatment for Hep C.  He will be in a 1yr treatment program.  He has had 1 shot and 6 pills a day for a week and is feeling really sick and sleepy.  Any suggestions to help him get throught the first weeks of this without getting discouraged?
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254544_tn?1310779332
Carey,

Try to get him here or online at one of the other support groups.  Or if he's up to it, maybe a local support group would help.  I know that I felt pretty ****** when I was on tx and the best thing that my husband could do for me was wait for me to tell him what I needed or how I was feeling.  As long as he didn't push me (and he never did) I was "o.k." handling things my own way at my own pace.

Good luck to him.

Mouse
Genotype 1a, Stage 3, Grade 3
finished 48 wks. of tx on 4/13/07
hoping for SVR on 9/20/07
(9+ days and counting!)
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