How is cirrhosis of the liver diagnosed?

  • Physical exam: During a physical exam, your doctor can observe how your liver feels or how large it is (a cirrhotic liver is bumpy and irregular instead of smooth).
  • Blood tests: If your doctor suspects cirrhosis, you will be given blood tests to check for liver disease.
  • Other tests: In some cases, other tests that take pictures of the liver are performed, such as a computerized tomography (CT) scan or an ultrasound.
  • Biopsy: Your doctor may decide to confirm the diagnosis by taking a sample of tissue (biopsy) from the liver.
  • Surgery: In some cases, cirrhosis is diagnosed during surgery when the doctor is able to see the entire liver. The liver also can be inspected through a laparoscope, a viewing device that is inserted through a tiny incision (cut) in the abdomen.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/11/2019.


  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Cirrhosis. Accessed 1/14/2019.
  • American Liver Foundation. Cirrhosis of the Liver. Accessed 1/14/2019.
  • U.S. National Library of Medicine/Medline Plus. Cirrhosis. Accessed 1/14/2019.

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