A kidney biopsy, also known as a renal biopsy, is a medical procedure that collects kidney tissue for analysis. Often, your doctor will order a kidney biopsy so he or she can properly diagnose what type of kidney-related disease you may have and what stage it is in. A proper diagnosis is key for devising an effective treatment plan and can also help monitor the effectiveness of any kidney treatments you’re currently undergoing.
Today, there are two primary ways your doctor may perform a kidney biopsy:
The purpose of performing a kidney biopsy is so your doctor can determine the cause of any condition causing your kidneys to malfunction. After all, kidneys are responsible for many things to keep your body running optimally, including the following:
Typically, prior to performing a kidney biopsy, your doctor will order blood and urine tests to determine whether you really have a problem with your kidneys. If there is a problem, a biopsy will do the following:
While a kidney biopsy can provide critical information about the health of your kidneys, there are risks associated with the procedure. For example, the procedure may result in an infection that could become a serious health issue. If you undergo a kidney biopsy, keep an eye out for signs of an infection. The symptoms may include:
Additionally, there is a risk of damage to the kidney and nearby tissues during a kidney biopsy.
Once your doctor collects a tissue sample from your kidney, he or she will send it to a lab, where a pathologist will examine it. If it turns out that your sample is free of defects and other issues, no further testing or treatment will be necessary. However, if the results come back abnormal, it may indicate one or more of the following:
Depending on the results of your biopsy, your doctor may order more tests or develop a treatment plan for your condition.