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Kidney biopsy

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Kidney biopsy is the technique of removing sample tissue from the kidneys for the purpose of examining it under a microscope. A kidney biopsy would be advised by your doctor on suspecting a renal health complication. We shall discuss the details below:


Why is the purpose of kidney biopsy?

It’s a diagnostic test for the following health issues: 

  • Kidney malfunction, retention of waste products in the blood
  • Detecting proteinuria (presence of protein in urine) and hematuria (presence of blood in urine)
  • To ensure if the transplanted kidney is working properly
  • Evaluate progression of kidney disease or kidney failure
  • To confirm a cancer and its type i.e. benign or malignant
  • To plan a treatment for kidney disease


How is kidney biopsy carried out?

There are two techniques or types of biopsies:

Needle biopsy

Also known as percutaneous biopsy, a needle is inserted under the skin after application of local anaesthesia in order to collect the sample of kidney tissue. The procedure is guided with the help of ultrasonography or CT scan.

Open biopsy

It is a surgical technique that is performed under general anaesthesia and it is recommended for those with bleeding disorders. An incision is made on the skin to remove a larger portion of kidney tissue. The cut is then stitched.


What to discuss with your doctor before undergoing kidney biopsy?

During you appointment, make sure you let your doctor know the following aspects: 

  • Pre existing bleeding problems
  • Planning for pregnancy or are pregnant
  • Taking any medicines or supplements
  • Have undergone a surgery recently
  • Have a medical condition like cardiovascular disease
  • Is allergic to anything


How to prepare for kidney biopsy?

Your doctor might conduct a urine test or blood test prior to the biopsy to ensure that you are not suffering from infections.

You may be asked to fast 8 hours before the biopsy. Dosage of certain medicines like blood thinners may be adjusted. Your doctor will decide on that.

A hospital gown will be given and you have to lie down on the table on your stomach. Depending upon the type of biopsy you are undergoing you will be given a local or general anaesthesia. IV drip line will be initiated.


What happens during the procedure?

In case of a needle biopsy, your doctor will ask you to hold your breath when he makes a tiny incision to inserts the probe and the needle. You can sense stinging sensation, like pricking on your skin. He/she might insert the needle several times if multiple samples are required.

After the sample has been collected the punctuated site will be pressed to stop bleeding followed by application of bandage strip. You will indeed feel pressure.

Since open biopsy is performed under general anaesthesia, you would be sleeping and won’t realize a bit.


What happens after the procedure?

You can sense tenderness in the site of the operation and might have to stay for 12-24 hours in the hospital. Your doctor will monitor you closely and complete bed rest would be advised.


Are there any risks of kidney biopsy?
  • Accidental puncture of the nearby artery or veins
  • Continued bleeding from the biopsy site passed through urine
  • Infection of the punctured site

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: April 14, 2014