Objective: The aim of the present study was to assess whether the complication rate after ultrasound-guided percutaneous liver biopsies in children is affected by how frequently the procedure is performed by the operator.
Methods: Medical charts and ultrasound descriptions of 311 ultrasound-guided percutaneous liver biopsy procedures performed by 18 radiologists at a single center from 2000 to 2011 were reviewed. Postbiopsy ultrasound the following day was performed after 97% of the procedures.
Results: There were no differences in the procedure-associated rate of major bleeding incidents (2.2% vs 0.8%, P = 0.38), minor bleeding incidents (15.2% vs 10.2%, P = 0.31), or abdominal pain (13.0% vs 10.6%, P = 0.61) among operators who performed ≤10 procedures and those who performed >10 procedures during the study period. A higher rate of minor bleeding incidents were recorded after liver biopsy when operators had performed <10 biopsies compared with operators who had performed >20 pediatric liver biopsies during the study period (odds ratio 3.4 [1.3–9.1], P = 0.02). No association between the number of biopsies performed by the operator during the 2 years preceding the date of the biopsy and complications was found.
Conclusions: Major complications are infrequent after pediatric liver biopsies and no relation between operator experience and major complications was found. We found a significant, but minor, effect of operator procedure frequency on the rate of minor bleeding incidents after ultrasound-guided pediatric liver biopsies.