A renal biopsy is the removal of a small piece of kidney tissue for examination.
There are many ways to do a kidney biopsy. They include:
The most common kidney biopsy uses ultrasound to guide the doctor to the proper area in your kidney. The biopsy is done in the hospital. Your doctor will go over the procedure, benefits, and risks in great detail.
If the health care provider is not using ultrasound guidance, you may be asked to take deep breaths to verify the needle is in place.
You will need to stay in bed for 6 - 8 hours after the procedure and will remain in the hospital for at least 12 hours. The health care team will give you pain medicines and fluids by mouth or a vein. Your urine will be checked for excessive bleeding. (A little bleeding usually occurs.) Blood counts and vital signs are monitored.
Kidney biopsies may also be done using CT scan guidance.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend a surgical biopsy. Although surgical biopsies have traditionally required a 3- to 5-inch cut, they can often be done laparoscopically, which uses smaller surgical cuts. Surgical biopsies involve a longer recovery than a simpler needle biopsy.
Tell your health care team if you are pregnant or if you have any drug allergies or bleeding problems. Make sure the health care team knows what medications you are taking.
You may be told to avoid foods or fluids before the test.
The amount of pain during and after the procedure depends on the patient.
Numbing medicine is used, so there is usually minimal pain during the procedure. 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, persistent blood in the urine, or protein in the urine. The test is sometimes used to evaluate a transplanted kidney.
A normal value is when the kidney tissue shows normal structure.
Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
An abnormal result means there are changes in the kidney tissue. This may be due to:
Abnormal results may also be due to:
This list is not inclusive.
Avoid strenuous activities and lifting heavy objects for 2 weeks after the test. Sometimes a repeat biopsy is needed.
Kidney biopsy; Biopsy - kidney
Maya ID, Allon M, Saddekni S, Warnock DG. Interventional nephrology. In: Brenner BM, ed. Brenner and Rector's The Kidney. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 28.
Landry DW, Bazari H. Approach to the patient with renal disease. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 116.
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; Scott Miller, MD, Urologist in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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