Fatty liver disease is now one of the most commonly encountered entities in the practice of liver pathology. Distinguishing simple steatosis from steatohepatitis is critical because the latter requires follow-up because of long-term risks that include cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. An organized approach for evaluating liver biopsies with steatosis is recommended to capture all of the relevant features: (1) degree of steatosis, (2) presence or absence of ballooning degeneration, (3) lobular inflammation, and (4) fibrosis. Herein, we provide a stepwise approach that readers can use to evaluate liver biopsies with steatosis, including examples, pitfalls, differential diagnostic considerations, and suggested diagnostic phrasing.
To provide a stepwise approach for the evaluation of liver biopsies showing significant steatosis (involving ≥5% of liver parenchyma).
Biopsies demonstrating fatty liver disease encountered in our daily practice were examined as well as recent literature.
Effective evaluation of liver biopsies with steatosis requires careful histologic examination and correlation with clinical history, particularly regarding medications, nutrition status, and alcohol use. Examples of uniform reporting, including appropriate use of the nonalcoholic steatohepatitis Clinical Research Network Activity Score, are provided.