Kidney Biopsy

Kidney Biopsy

What is a Kidney Biopsy?

A procedure where a small piece of kidney tissue is removed and examined under a microscope to diagnose any damage or disease.

It is also called a renal biopsy. 

Doctors perform a kidney biopsy in either of the two ways mentioned below:

1) Percutaneous(through skin) biopsy: With the help of ultrasound, a needle is inserted through the skin to the right place in the kidney to remove the tissue.

2) Open Biopsy: A surgery is performed to take the sample directly from the kidney. 

This sample is sent to the pathology lab for examination to detect any signs of disease or damage.

Kidney Biopsy

Why Kidney Biopsy is Performed?

Some kidney problems can be diagnosed with blood and urine tests. sonogram or special x-rays. But certain kidney diseases, non-functioning kidneys, or exact diagnosis of kidney problems need a kidney biopsy.

It may be done to:

  • -address exact kidney problem
  • – plan treatment based on kidney conditions
  • – know the extent of damage 
  • – Evaluate how the patient is responding to treatment
  • – Monitor the condition of the transplanted kidney and if it’s functioning well.
  • – detect nephrotic syndrome and glomerular disease, kidney tumor
  • – Diagnose other unusual or special conditions.

Before undergoing Kidney biopsy, our doctors will explain the purpose, benefits, and risks of kidney biopsy. Ensure you have understood the purpose and are aware of the risks before signing the consent form. 


Generally, percutaneous kidney biopsy is safe and performed in a hospital. Some complications may happen even though all precautions are taken. You may find blood in the urine. this will stop in 3-4 days. If the bleeding persists, blood transfusion or surgery may be needed to control bleeding. The biopsy site will ache but lasts for a few hours. rarely, hematoma (collection of blood) around the kidney leads to infection. This is treated with antibiotics and surgical drainage.

Percutaneous biopsy:

First, the kidney is identified in the ultra-sound. A dye may be injected into the veins to find the kidney and main blood vessels. Once the biopsy site is identified, the doctors mark it on the skin so that the biopsy needle can be inserted. With the help of local anesthesia, the area of biopsy is numbed. You may feel pressure when the needle is pushed through the skin into the kidney. You are advised to stay still and hold your breath for a couple of seconds. Sometimes, 2 needles may be needed to get adequate samples. when the needle is removed, the area is bandaged where the needle was punctured. The entire procedure lasts for about one hour or a little longer than an hour.


Open Kidney Biopsy: 

Patients who have a previous history of bleeding issues are advised to opt for an open kidney biopsy. Surgeons perform an open operation to find the kidney and take the sample to examine.

Points to Ponder 

Before Biopsy: 

  • Discuss with your doctor and ensure you understand the need for biopsy and the risks and benefits.
  • Inform your doctor about all allergies and medicines you take.
  • avoid blood-thinning medications and supplements.
  • avoid eating and drinking 8 hours before the test

After Biopsy:

  • Strictly follow doctor‘s advice
  • Take complete bed rest for 12 to 24 hours
  • Immediately report any problems like:
  1. blood in urine
  2. discomfort to pass urine
  3. fever
  4. acute pain in the biopsy site
  5. dizziness

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