Kidney biopsy is a procedure in which a doctor takes a tiny piece of tissue from the kidneys and sends the tissue sample to a laboratory for analysis. A pathologist examines the sample under a microscope to detect any abnormal changes in the kidneys.

Your nephrologist may recommend a kidney biopsy, if:

  • The doctor suspects a kidney disease
  • Wants to know the cause of the kidney disease
  • The doctor wants to know the extent of kidney damage.

How is it done?

First, an ultrasound is done to look at the kidneys to see if it’s feasible to do a biopsy.

A percutaneous kidney biopsy involves a doctor inserting a slender needle through the skin after giving local anesthesia to gather tissue from the kidney.

An Ultrasound device is used to assist the doctor in guiding the needle accurately into the kidney.

What are the reasons for kidney disease?

Your doctor may recommend a kidney biopsy for the following reasons:

  • To Diagnose the cause of  kidney disease
  • Planning a treatment based on the kidney’s condition
  • Determining the progress of kidney disease
  • Monitoring the treatment efficiency
  • Monitoring the health of transplanted kidney

How will you get ready for a kidney biopsy?

Your nephrologist will explain the procedure including possible complications and addresses your questions and concerns.

Your doctor performs physical examination and overall health check – blood tests, urine tests.

You will sign a consent form giving your permission for the procedure.

It is important to inform your healthcare provider if you have allergies or sensitivities to medication, latex, or anesthesia.

Additionally, provide your healthcare provider with a comprehensive list of all medications you are taking, including prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal supplements.

If you are taking any blood thinning medications such as anticoagulants or aspirin or other medicines that affect blood clotting, then you should stop these medicines 5-7 days prior to the procedure as per the doctor’s instructions.

Inform your doctor if you think you are pregnant.

You may need to fast at least 4 hours before the procedure, your doctor will give specific instructions.

 Bottom Line

Kidney biopsy is a simple procedure done on a regular basis, mostly as a daycare procedure. It’s a procedure done to find out the cause of kidney problems, and the extent of damage, and to determine the treatment of kidney disease. Complications are rare and can be easily dealt with by the medical team and do not have any long-term consequences.

Do not delay the procedure, if it is recommended.