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Cirrhosis may be diagnosed based on your symptoms, medical history, physical examination and results of laboratory tests. Tests to confirm a diagnosis of cirrhosis include a complete blood count (CBC), liver enzyme, liver function and electrolyte testing as well as screening for other health conditions such as hepatitis B and C viruses, liver cancer or gallstones.

In most cases, a liver biopsy is used to confirm the diagnosis. During a biopsy, the doctor uses a needle to take a small sample of tissue from your liver so that it can be examined for scarring or other signs of disease.

Imaging tests may also be recommended to obtain a closer look at your liver. These include a computerized tomography (CT) scan, ultrasound or a scan of the liver using a radioisotope — a harmless radioactive substance that highlights the liver. The doctor also might examine your liver using a laparoscope, an instrument that is inserted through the abdomen that relays images onto a computer screen.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.

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UCSF Clinics & Centers


Gastroenterology at Mount Zion
1701 Divisadero St., Suite 120
San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone: (415) 502-4444
Fax: (415) 502-2249
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Gastroenterology at Parnassus
350 Parnassus Ave., Suite 410
San Francisco, CA 94143
Phone: (415) 502-2112
Fax: (415) 514-3300
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Gastrointestinal Motility & Secretion Center
400 Parnassus Ave., Box 0310
San Francisco, CA 94143-0310
Phone: (415) 353-9383
Fax: (415) 353-2505
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