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Percutaneous medical liver core biopsies: correlation between tissue length and the number of portal tracts
  1. James Chan1,
  2. Yasir Alwahab2,
  3. Charles Tilley3,
  4. Norman Carr3
  1. 1Department of Histopathology, Royal Bournemouth Hospital, Bournemouth, UK
  2. 2Department of Histopathology, Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK
  3. 3Department of Histopathology, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr James Chan, Royal Bournemouth Hospital, Department of Histopathology, Post Point E01, Bournemouth BH7 7DW, UK; jameschan{at}


Objective Liver biopsy is an important tool for the diagnosis and assessment of liver disease. The authors aimed to establish the relationship between biopsy length and the number of total portal tracts.

Methods The authors reviewed 163 16G percutaneous medical liver biopsies taken at a tertiary referral centre over a 14-month period. Haematoxylin and eosin sections were analysed using imaging software and portal tracts were counted.

Results Liver biopsy length correlates with total portal tracts. The median biopsy length was 13.3 mm with a median of six portal tracts. Ninety-five per cent of biopsies measuring at least 15 mm contained six portal tracts or more with a significant difference between total portal tracts when compared with biopsies <15 mm (p<0.0001).

Conclusion To facilitate adequate histological assessment by examining at least six portal tracts, the authors suggest that 16G biopsies should be at least 15 mm long.

  • Percutaneous liver biopsy
  • length
  • portal tract
  • liver core biopsies
  • length and number of portal tracts
  • histopathology
  • liver

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the Clinical Effectiveness Team of Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.