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Introduction to Diagnosis of Liver, Gallbladder, and Biliary Disorders

By Nicholas T. Orfanidis, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital

A variety of diagnostic tests help doctors assess disorders of the liver, gallbladder, and biliary tract (the ducts that connect the liver and gallbladder and that transport bile—see Overview of the Liver and Gallbladder). Among the most important are a group of blood tests known as liver function tests.

View of the Liver and Gallbladder

Depending on the suspected problem, a doctor may also order imaging tests, such as ultrasonography, computed tomography (CT), or cholangiography of the bile ducts using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or x-rays. Also, a doctor may take a sample of liver tissue for examination under a microscope, a procedure called a liver biopsy.

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