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Home > Health Library > Kidney Biopsy
A biopsy is a procedure to collect small pieces of tissue to look at under a microscope. A kidney biopsy may be done to check for problems or when other tests show a kidney problem. For example, you may get one if a test shows that you have blood or protein in your urine. The biopsy is usually done by putting a long, thin needle through the back and into the kidney. The doctor may do several biopsies to make sure there is a good sample.
The doctor may use ultrasound to guide the needle during the biopsy. The area will be numb.
The biopsy itself will take 15 to 30 minutes. The whole procedure will take about an hour.
After the procedure, you'll stay in the hospital or surgery center for several hours to make sure there are no problems. Most people can go home the same day. You may need someone to drive you home.
A kidney biopsy is done to:
Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.
A kidney biopsy is done in a clinic or a hospital.
You will need to take off all or most of your clothes. You will wear a gown. Before the biopsy, you may be given a sedative through an intravenous (IV) line in a vein in your arm. The sedative will help you relax and lie still during the biopsy.
You will be asked to lie on an examination table. A sandbag, a firm pillow, or a rolled towel will be placed under your body to support your belly. It is very important that you follow your doctor's directions about breathing, holding your breath, and lying still while the biopsy is being done.
Your doctor will examine your back and may mark the biopsy site by making a slight dent in your skin with a pencil or tool. The biopsy may be done on either the right or the left kidney. The site will be cleaned with a special soap. Your doctor then gives you local anesthetic to numb the area where the biopsy needle will be inserted.
Your doctor puts the biopsy needle through the skin while looking at your kidney with ultrasound or another imaging technique. You will be asked to hold your breath and stay very still while the needle is put into the kidney.
The needle is removed after the tissue sample is taken. Pressure is put on the biopsy site for several minutes to stop the bleeding. Then a bandage is put on the site.
After the biopsy, you will rest in bed for 6 to 24 hours. Your pulse, blood pressure, and temperature will be checked often after the biopsy.
You may feel a brief sting or pinch when the numbing medicine is put in. When the biopsy needle is put in, you may feel a sharp pain for a few seconds.
There is a small chance for serious problems from a kidney biopsy, but they are rare.
Biopsy results are ready in 2 to 4 days. If tests are done to find infections, it may take several weeks for the results to be ready.
The structure and cells of the kidney look normal. There are no signs of inflammation, scar tissue, infection, transplant rejection, or cancer.
The sample may show signs of scarring due to infection, poor blood flow, glomerulonephritis, a kidney infection (pyelonephritis), or signs of other diseases that affect the body, such as systemic lupus erythematosus.
Kidney tissue may show tumors that were not expected, such as Wilms' tumor (which occurs in early childhood) and renal cell cancer (which is most common after age 40).
Kidney tissue shows signs of transplant reactions, rejection, or failure.
Current as of:
February 10, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica MD - Family MedicineChristopher G. Wood MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology
Current as of: February 10, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Christopher G. Wood MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology
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