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(Biopsy-Kidney, Renal Biopsy, Biopsy-Renal, Needle Aspiration of the Kidney, Percutaneous Kidney Biopsy)
A biopsy is a procedure performed to remove tissue or cells from the body for examination under a microscope. During a kidney biopsy, tissue samples are removed with a special needle to determine if cancer or other abnormal cells are present, or to determine how well the kidney is working.
There are two types of kidney biopsies:
If your physician wants to sample a specific area of the kidney, the biopsy may be performed in the radiology department, guided by ultrasound, fluoroscopy, or computed tomography (CT scan, a combination of x-rays and computer technology).
Other related procedures that may be used to assess the kidneys include kidney, ureters, and bladder (KUB) x-ray, CT scan of the kidneys, kidney scan, renal ultrasound, renal angiogram, antegrade pyelogram, retrograde pyelogram, intravenous pyelogram, and renal venogram. Please see these procedures for additional information.
The body takes nutrients from food and converts them to energy. After the body has taken the food that it needs, waste products are left behind in the bowel and in the blood.
The kidneys and urinary system keep chemicals, such as potassium and sodium, and water in balance, and remove a type of waste, called urea, from the blood. Urea is produced when foods containing protein, such as meat, poultry, and certain vegetables, are broken down in the body. Urea is carried in the bloodstream to the kidneys.
Two kidneys, a pair of purplish-brown organs, are located below the ribs toward the middle of the back. Their function is to:
The kidneys remove urea from the blood through tiny filtering units called nephrons. Each nephron consists of a ball formed of small blood capillaries, called a glomerulus, and a small tube called a renal tubule.
Urea, together with water and other waste substances, forms the urine as it passes through the nephrons and down the renal tubules of the kidney.
A kidney biopsy may be performed to:
There may be other reasons for your physician to recommend a kidney biopsy.
As with any surgical procedure, complications can occur. Some possible complications may include, but are not limited to, the following:
If the kidney biopsy is performed with the aid of x-ray technology, the amount of radiation used is considered minimal. Therefore, the risk for radiation exposure is low.
If you are pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant, you should notify your physician.
Kidney biopsy may be contraindicated in persons with an active kidney infection, certain bleeding conditions, uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure), or with only one functioning kidney.
There may be other risks depending upon your specific medical condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your physician prior to the procedure.
A kidney biopsy may be performed on an outpatient basis or as part of your stay in a hospital. The kidney biopsy may be performed in a procedure room, in a hospital bed, or in the radiology department. Procedures may vary depending on your condition and your physician’s practices.
Generally, a kidney needle biopsy follows this process:
Your recovery process will vary depending upon the type of procedure performed and your physician’s practices. You may be taken to the recovery room for observation if your procedure was done in a procedure room or in the radiology department. Once your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing are stable and you are alert, you may be taken to a hospital room or discharged to your home.
You will be asked to lie on your back for several hours. A nurse will check your urine for signs of bleeding. You may have blood tests to monitor for internal bleeding. You may be discharged later the same day or the next day.
The biopsy site may be tender or sore for several days after the biopsy. Take a pain reliever for soreness as recommended by your physician. Aspirin or certain other pain medications may increase the chance of bleeding. Be sure to take only recommended medications.
Notify your physician to report any of the following:
You may resume your usual diet unless instructed differently. Your physician may ask you to rest for a day or two and to avoid strenuous physical activity for several days. You should not perform any type of “bouncing” activities such as jogging, aerobics, playing tennis, or horseback riding for a couple of weeks to prevent bleeding of the biopsy site.
Your physician may give you additional or alternate instructions after the procedure, depending on your particular situation.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. Please consult your physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
This page contains links to other Web sites with information about this procedure and related health conditions. We hope you find these sites helpful, but please remember we do not control or endorse the information presented on these Web sites, nor do these sites endorse the information contained here.