To aid in the diagnosis of liver disease, punch biopsy techniques have been in use at the University of Michigan Hospital during the past six years. The information gained from such examinations has often been found diagnostic in itself, and also extremely useful when correlated with data from other laboratory studies and clinical examinations.
A review of the information gained from 107 punch biopsies of the liver during a five-year period (1951-1956) is presented here, together with similar data from 172 consecutive open biopsies of the liver during a three-year period (1953-1956). This review was undertaken to evaluate these procedures as performed and interpreted in this hospital and to attempt to establish criteria for their use.
The advantages of the punch biopsy are obvious: simplicity, economy, and avoidance of a general anesthetic. The chief disadvantages are possible hemorrhage, post-punch bile leaks, and difficulty in obtaining specimens adequate for histological interpretation.