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Kidney Biopsy

How It Is Done

A kidney biopsy is done by a urologist, nephrologist, or a radiologist in a clinic or a hospital. A kidney biopsy is often done by a radiologist using ultrasound, fluoroscopy, a CT scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to help guide the biopsy needle.

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.

During the test

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. The biopsy takes 15 to 30 minutes.

After the test

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.

If no problems develop, you can go home. To prevent bleeding at the biopsy site, you will be told to lie down in a certain position for the next 12 to 24 hours. You may eat your normal diet. Do not take aspirin or anti-inflammatory medicines for a week after the biopsy. You may do your regular activities, but do not do strenuous activities, such as heavy lifting, hard running, motorcycle riding, contact sports, or other activities that might jar or jolt your kidney, for 2 weeks after the biopsy.

How It Feels

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.

It is normal to feel some muscle soreness in the area of the biopsy for 2 to 3 days after the biopsy. You may have a small amount of bleeding on the bandage after the biopsy. Talk to your doctor about how much pain and bleeding you can expect. Many people will have bright red blood in their urine for the first 24 hours after the biopsy; this is expected.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 24, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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