Kidney Biopsy

A kidney biopsy is a medical procedure in which a piece of tissue is removed from the patient’s kidney (parenchyma) is order to diagnose kidney disease.

What is a kidney biopsy?

What is a kidney biopsy?

A kidney biopsy entails removing one or more small pieces of tissue from the kidney. Because the lesions caused by kidney disease systematically affect both kidneys, tissue from a single kidney can be collected and analyzed to diagnose both kidneys. The tissue samples are examined under a microscope to make the diagnosis.

What is the purpose of a kidney biopsy?

A kidney biopsy is used to fine-tune a kidney disease diagnosis (cause and/or category), outlook (future development and monitoring) and/or treatment.

Urinary symptoms (proteinuria, hematuria, abnormal urinary sediment) and lab results (high creatinine level in the blood) are not specific to any single nephropathy and therefore are not suggestive of any particular disease.
The histopathological analysis of the biopsy is used to diagnose the disease and determine the appropriate treatment: once the serious signs of the disease have been assessed, the physician can adapt the recommended therapy (type, intensity and duration) to the kidney disease diagnosed.

What to expect during a kidney biopsy at the American Hospital of Paris

Kidney biopsies are performed under ultrasound guidance, or CT scan guidance for patients with a more complex anatomy.

  • Before the procedure begins, you will be asked to lie down.
  • You will be under local anesthesia and remain awake throughout the biopsy so you can breathe consciously and thereby improve the ultrasound view of your kidney.
  • Once the nephrologist has located your kidney, he or she will insert a fine biopsy needle in order to collect the tissue samples.  
  • Afterwards, you will be asked to lie on your back to limit the risk of bleeding.
  • For the first 12 hours following the procedure, you will be under medical surveillance. A nurse will check your urine for signs of bleeding, and monitor your blood pressure.   

Patients can usually go home the day after the procedure.


follow-up care

For the first three weeks following the biopsy, we recommend that you avoid strenuous exercise and any potentially trauma-inducing physical activities such as carrying heavy loads and sports like rugby, judo, motorcycling, horseback riding, etc. Long trips and the use of aspirin are strictly prohibited without your doctor’s consent.
If you experience new or recurring pain at the biopsy site, or if your urine has a reddish color, contact your primary physician or the nephrology center.

What risks are associated with the biopsy?

Incidents and complications rarely occur. 

However, some patients experience fainting.
You may also experience the following after the procedure:

  • Hematuria, or blood in the urine
  • Bleeding (hematoma) in the perinephric space<}0{>Bleeding (hematoma) in the perinephric space<0}<0}

In the event of persistent and/or heavy bleeding, you may be required to stay in the hospital for a few days. A blood transfusion may be necessary. 

Though rare, a radiological or surgical procedure may be necessary.

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