Reasons, Procedure and Preparation For Renal Biopsy

Submitted on March 27, 2012

Since a renal biopsy essentially involves taking a small portion of kidney tissue such that it may then be subject to laboratory examination, the term kidney biopsy is often used. Essentially such a test is needed for the purpose of diagnosis and when it comes to evaluating how bad a particular kidney disorder or problem actually is.

Reasons for Renal Biopsy

In most cases, such a biopsy may be called to when it comes to the possibility of kidney disease and in patients known to have this problem. When other routine tests fail to provide comprehensive or decisive information, this renal biopsy may be called for. There are different conditions and combinations of conditions wherein the biopsy may be prescribed, such as kidney function problems or hematuria. One has to remember that while renal biopsy is the test, actual procedures and instruments used may differ.

While this particular procedure is considered safe, renal biopsy complications are possible. At the same time, such a procedure typically reveals important information when it comes to kidney disease. Renal biopsy complications could be problems of pain along with bleeding. There is also the possible complication known as arteriovenous fistula where the needle essentially injures artery and vein walls.


Preparation for the renal biopsy procedure would depend upon a number of factors, which must be discussed with your health care practitioner. To being with, tests may be used to ascertain the absence of infection or any kind of blood clotting abnormalities. Certain medications may be proscribed such as those that could promote bleeding.


There is no single renal biopsy technique and you will find a wide variety of such techniques. An example would be percutaneous renal biopsy which is typically done on an outpatient basis. This would take a number of hours, taking into consideration the preparation involved in addition to the general recovery time. Just one kidney needs to be selected for the purpose of the biopsy. The kidney location has to be ascertained via measures such as an ultrasound so that marking of the spot becomes possible. You will of course need a local anesthetic before the biopsy needle is inserted. This insertion is usually made possible thanks to the ultrasound which guides the health care provider. With the help of this needle, there may be two to three samples that are thus obtained to aid diagnosis.