What is a Kidney Biopsy
A kidney Biopsy is a medical procedure that involves taking a small piece (sample) of your kidney tissue for the main purpose of examining it using a microscope for any signs of diseases or damage. This procedure is mainly done by a pathologist, a doctor that has the skills of diagnosing diseases, in a well set out laboratory. If you have had a kidney transplant after developing Chronic Kidney diseases, your doctor will carry out a kidney biopsy to check why the new kidney is not working properly.
A kidney biopsy can be performed by any of the following skilled doctors in an outpatient center or hospital:
- Urologist- A doctor who has specialized in treating sexual issues and urologic problems
- Transplant surgeon- A doctor who has the skills of performing an organ transplant
- Nephrologists- A doctor whose main field is treating kidney diseases
- Interventional Radiologist- A doctor known to perform procedures on the body by using imaging equipment
There are two ways that can be used to take a kidney biopsy sample:
- Open Kidney Biopsy: This method involves getting a sample directly from your kidney during a surgery. After collecting the sample, it is taken to a pathologist who will then examine it for any signs of damage or disease.
- Percutaneous Kidney Biopsy: This method is done through the skin by an experienced doctor who places a needle directly through the skin that covers the kidney. This is made possible by the help of an ultrasound that provides guidance to the kidney’s location.
Reasons for Conducting a Kidney Biopsy
There are kidney diseases that can be easily detected by taking urine or blood tests of the patient. In this scenario, a kidney biopsy is not necessary. Patients that have serious kidney diseases or those that have undergone a kidney transplant require a Kidney Biopsy to determine the real cause of the issue since blood or urine test cannot display the correct results.
A kidney Biopsy can be done on a person to check any of the health conditions given below:
- Albuminuria- This is a health condition in which the patient’s urine has large amounts of a protein known as Albumin. Albuminuria can also be taken as a kidney infection sign.
- Hematuria- This is a condition in which patients experience abnormal blood in their urine
- Nephrotic Syndrome that is as a result of damage to the filtering units of a kidney. This damage can also lead to another condition called Glomerular Disease
A kidney Biopsy may also be used in finding:
- Whether a certain medication is affecting your kidneys
- If a kidney that was transplanted is not functioning properly
- The level of damage caused to a person’s kidney
- Whether a certain kidney disease is responding negatively or positively to the treatment offered
Possible Risks of a Kidney Biopsy
The risks of a kidney Biopsy are very minimal since it is a safe procedure. However, you should discuss all the possible risk with your doctor before taking a kidney biopsy. The risks of a kidney biopsy includes:
This is the most common complication that is likely to occur from a kidney biopsy. The bleeding may occur from the rapture site or your kidneys hence forcing the patient to seek urgent blood transfusion.
Although rare, a person who has taken a Kidney Biopsy may end up developing infections in the body. To treat these infections, doctors prescribe using bacteria- fighting medication known as antibiotics.
Preparing for a Kidney Biopsy
Before taking a Kidney Biopsy, a patient should talk with their doctor about:
- \Any other medication that is being taken including supplements, vitamins, and any other over -the counter drug that was purchased.
- Notify your doctor about any allergic cases that you may have or had at one point in time
- Cases of bleeding problems especially when one takes a blood-thinning medication such as Plavix, Aspirin or Pradaxa.
- Any signs of pregnancy.
How a Kidney Biopsy is Performed
A Kidney Biopsy procedure will take around one hour. The following steps are followed:
- A patient is asked to lie down on the examination table. For the purpose of supporting the patient’s abdomen and body, a pillow is usually provided by the technician. If you have undergone a kidney transplant, the doctor will tell you to lie on your back, because the transplanted kidney is usually placed on the front lower [part of the abdomen.
- A sedative will then be given to the patient by a nurse through IV.
- The exact location where a needle will enter your skin will be marked by a technician. The part will then be cleaned before an anesthetic injection is given.
- The healthcare provider will then guide the needle into the kidney by using an imaging technique such as Ultrasound.
- You will then be asked to hold your breath as the doctor is inserting the needle before finally removing the kidney tissue. The needle may be inserted close to four times hence you will need to hold your breath longer enough as the needle is being inserted.
What to Expect After a Kidney Biopsy
After the kidney biopsy has been performed, you should expect the following:
- You will be required to lie down on your back while in the hospital for about one hour. As you lie down, a nurse will constantly monitor your blood pressure, urine, and pulse.
- You may also experience soreness or pain in the location that was used to insert the needle.
- A doctor will give you a set of instructions that will be useful when it comes to recovering quickly. For the majority of the people that have undertaken a Kidney Biopsy, it may take up to two weeks before they can resume normal activities.
- You will also be required to rest at home for 12-24 hours after taking a Kidney Biopsy. If the situation of a patient is not that good, one may be required to spend the night in the hospital.