Needle biopsy of the liver is an accepted procedure in adult medicine. In pediatrics, however, there has been some hesitancy to employ this diagnostic aid. This has been due primarily to the impossibility of securing adequate cooperation from infants and small children. It has been estimated that when employing the Vim-Silverman needle the intrahepatic phase is 5-10 seconds,1 clearly a long enough time to lacerate the liver, should the child suddenly gasp. After the publication of a biopsy technique utilizing an aspiration needle,2 the Menghini needle, it appeared that biopsy of noncooperative subjects was feasible. The total intrahepatic phase with this technique is estimated at less than one second. Using this needle and simple modifications of standard techniques, a safe, effective biopsy of the liver without anesthesia is possible in nearly all pediatric patients.
The Menghini needle is an aspiration needle possessing two features which greatly enhance its