A renal biopsy is the removal of a small piece of kidney tissue for examination.
A kidney biopsy is done in the hospital. The two most common ways to do a kidney biopsy are percutaneous and open. These are described below.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend a surgical biopsy. This method is used when a larger piece of tissue is needed.
After percutaneous or open biopsy, you will likely stay in the hospital for at least 12 hours. You will receive pain medicines and fluids by mouth or through a vein (IV). Your urine will be checked for heavy bleeding. A small amount of bleeding is normal after a biopsy.
Follow instructions about caring for yourself after the biopsy. This may include not lifting anything heavier than 10 pounds for 2 weeks after the biopsy.
Tell your health care provider:
Numbing medicine is used, so the pain during the procedure is often slight. The numbing medicine may burn or sting when first injected.
After the procedure, the area may feel tender or sore for a few days.
You may see bright, red blood in the urine the first 24 hours after the test. If the bleeding lasts longer, tell your health care provider.
Your doctor may order a kidney biopsy if you have:
An unexplained drop in kidney function
Blood in the urine that does not go away
Protein in the urine found during a urine test
A transplanted kidney, which needs to be monitored using a biopsy
A normal value is when the kidney tissue shows normal structure.
An abnormal result means there are changes in the kidney tissue. This may be due to:
Renal biopsy; Biopsy - kidney
Lee YZ, McGregor JA, Chong WK. Ultrasound-guided kidney biopsies. Ultrasound Clin. 2009;4:45–55.
Salama AD, Cook HT. The renal biopsy. In: Taal MW, Chertow GM, Marsden Pa, et al., eds. Brenner and Rector’s The Kidney. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 28.
Updated by: Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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