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Renal biopsy

Also called as kidney biopsy, refers to obtain a sample of the kidney tissue. The sample is then examined in the laboratory. Renal biopsies require special collection procedures and should be done only in centres with appropriate facilities and after consultation with the pathologist.
Indications for Renal biopsy

  • Presence of protein and/or blood in the urine in stable patients
  • Unexplained acute renal failure
  • Rejection in renal transplantation
  • How the test is performed


This test is performed in the hospital, usually in the radiology suite in ultrasound. You will be expected to follow the instructions given during the test. You will be lying face down on a firm surface. Firm pillows or a rolled towel may be placed beneath the abdominal area to give support.

The kidney is located under ultrasound, and then the health care provider will mark the biopsy site. A local anaesthetic will be given to numb the skin at the biopsy site. A tiny incision is then made in the skin.

You will be asked to take a deep breath, hold it, and remain still as the locating needle (a needle that is used to locate the proper location in the kidney) is inserted through the incision and into the kidney under ultrasound guidance. You will then be asked to take several deep breaths to help verify the position of the needle.

The locating needle depth is measured and then removed. The biopsy needle is inserted following the path of the locating needle. Again, the position of the needle will be verified. The sample is taken, and the needle is removed. Pressure is applied to the biopsy site to stop the bleeding, and a bandage is applied. You will remain in the hospital after the test and lie on your back for 12 to 24 hours.


Renal biopsy is contraindicated in individuals with single kidney, bleeding disorders or uncontrolled hypertensions.


The most important complication associated with renal biopsy is haematuria which usually occurs in 5 to 10% of patients and resolves uneventfully in 24 to 48 hours. Bleeding is a rare complication and blood transfusion is recommended in individuals with severe bleeding.

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