I don't want to second guess anyone's doctor. That being said, for four years my neighbor was a liver researcher at Yale / New Haven Hospital and Bayer Pharmaceuticals. He was only eclipsed by his father, a well-published liver researcher in Charleston.
When I was first addressing my growing symptoms, his opinion was that the cirrhosis was only as important as its impact on the liver's operation. He suggested that to do a biopsy just to judge the level of cirrhosis was interesting but unless I was ready for a transplant, it was simply interesting and not critical. His take was that the important thing was the liver's operation -- how well was it doing its job. In my case, blood work showed the level of efficiency of the liver (or lack thereof) and an enlarged spleen indicated the level of back-pressure caused by cirrhosis. Physical external probing indicated the hardness of the liver from cirrhosis and ultra-sound and MRI showed no tumors. If the liver had not been hard to the touch, then perhaps a biopsy would have been necessary to determine whether the liver was clogged with fat.
My doctor had automatically suggested a biopsy -- and probably both as a justifiable diagnostic and billable procedure. When I suggested the above arguments against biopsy, he reluctantly agreed that it was not critically necessary, but rather would be a reinforcement and refinement of the known status of the liver. Remember that in my case, I had Hep C in my system for many years so the first assumption was not whether I had cirrhosis, but to what degree had it compromised my liver. At the time, my blood work showed that I did not qualify for a transplant and that my reduced platelet count disqualified me from Hep C Interferon treatment (it reduces platelet count even more). If I could have found a Hep C Interluken trial, that would have been OK but the cost of regular Interluken treatment is too high for insurers to pay.
So please, no one make medical decisions based on my story. Talk to your doctor and don't hesitate to ask questions, or get a second opinion. I am convinced that I avoided an unnecessary procedure (in my case) by asking questions and challenging (politely) whether it was really critical to my treatment. A good doctor is to be trusted, and a good doctor takes the time both to educate you on your condition and to listen to your questions.
sashakate - There are many who know more than I so my only real advice is to anyone with Hep C is to aggressively seek treatment and don't drink. Find out if you can get Hep C treatment and investigate what the new up and coming treatments are.
Connie - You listened to your doctor and you're here with us so obviously you got good advice and treatment. My understanding was that the only way to find out if the Hep C is active is through blood work (but I am not always right and I don't always remember clearly), and yes, I was told that cirrhosis would not show up on CT Scans or MRIs.
I wish everyone well and hope for better health for us and our loved ones, John
I have to get up the creek! Now where's that paddle?