Procedure and Complications in Kidney Biopsy

Submitted on March 27, 2012

The kidneys play a very important role in maintaining a healthy body. They maintain levels of water, salts, and minerals in the blood; they produce urine and filter waste products from the blood; they regulate the body's acid-base levels as well as high blood pressure. Certain illnesses and conditions affect the functioning of the kidney. In such a case, a kidney biopsy is conducted to find out the underlying reason. A kidney biopsy refers to a diagnostic test in which a sample of kidney tissue is extracted and examinated.

Need For a Kidney Biopsy

A kidney biopsy is necessary to diagnose conditions like bloody urine, bloody stool, and excessive protein leak in the urine. In case of previously established kidney damage, the biopsy can show how quickly the disease is advancing, kidney biopsy nephritic syndrome can provide clues to why there is a nodule formation. And by using a kidney transplant biopsy, doctors can figure out why the transplant isn't working.


Prior to the procedure, patients are required to share their complete medical history with their doctors. At the same time, patients are asked to avoid all medications, including herbal and blood-thinning medicines before the procedure.

For the procedure itself, the patient is asked to lie down on an examination table. The area over the kidney is cleaned with an antiseptic and a local anesthetic is administered. Once the numbness sets in a kidney needle biopsy is undertaken. This technique involves a long hollow needle being inserted right into the kidney. Doctors usually use imagining devices like an ultrasound scanner to guide them correctly. As a sample of the kidney tissue is being extracted the doctor will ask you to hold your breath for a few seconds. As you breathe, the organs tend to shift or move. Once the tissue sample is suctioned into the hollow needle, it is withdrawn and the sample is sent to the lab for testing. The procedure can take up to an hour.

For patients prone to bleeding and clotting problems, doctors recommend kidney biopsy through an open operation. Here the patient is administered general anesthesia as the surgeon cuts in and cuts out a sample.


Kidney biopsy complications are pretty rare. Some people tend to experience bleeding after the procedure. This is why the patient is monitored in the hospital for a few hours after the biopsy. In case of persistent bleeding, it is essential to consult your doctor immediately.