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Pediatric Transjugular Liver Biopsy

A liver biopsy is a procedure in which small pieces of liver tissue are extracted and sent to a laboratory for evaluation. Usually, the biopsy is performed by inserting a needle through the skin into the liver; this can sometimes result in bleeding from the liver into the abdomen.

A child with increased risk of bleeding or with a large amount of fluid in the abdomen will require a different type of biopsy, called a transjugular liver biopsy. During this procedure, the Interventional Radiology team at Children's National Hospital will thread a catheter (a thin tube) through the internal jugular vein in the neck and into the liver. This way, if the liver bleeds, blood goes into a vein, instead of the abdomen.