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Percutaneous Kidney Biopsy


A percutaneous kidney biopsy is a procedure to remove a small sample of kidney tissue. It is done to drain an abscess (pocket of pus). It may also be done to check for kidney disease or cancer.


Before your procedure:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
  • Pre-op care: You may be given medicine before your procedure to make you feel relaxed and sleepy.
    • Local or monitored anesthesia: This is a shot of numbing medicine put into your skin where you will have the procedure. Medicine to decrease bleeding may also be given with the local anesthesia. You may still feel pressure or pushing during your procedure, but you should not feel pain. With local anesthesia, you will be awake during your procedure. Monitored anesthesia means you will be given medicine through an IV. This medicine keeps you comfortable, relaxed, and drowsy during your procedure.
    • Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.

During your procedure:

  • Healthcare providers will remove any hair and clean your skin around the incision site. Anesthesia medicine will be given to keep you free from pain during your procedure. A CT scan or an ultrasound may be used to help your healthcare provider see your kidney better. Your healthcare provider may mark your skin over the lower part of your kidney with a pen. An incision may be made through the marked area.
  • A long needle will be inserted through your skin, or incision, and into your kidney. You will be asked to hold your breath as your healthcare provider inserts the needle into your kidney. The needle has a sharp edge that will remove a small piece of your kidney. Your healthcare provider may need to insert the needle more than once to get enough tissue. Once your healthcare provider has a sample of your tissue, the needle will be removed.

After your procedure:

You will be taken to a room to rest after your procedure. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. You may need to lie flat on your back for a period of time after your procedure. Your healthcare provider will monitor your heartbeat, breathing rate, blood pressure, and temperature. You may need blood tests and imaging tests after your procedure to check for bleeding. Ask your healthcare provider if he needs to measure or collect your urine before you dispose of it. Your healthcare provider may need to look for blood in your urine.


  • You may need to have the procedure repeated to get more tissue. After your procedure, you may have pain, dizziness, or problems urinating. You may bleed more than expected. You may get an infection, have blood in your urine, or blood clots in your kidney. The procedure may increase your risk for long-term high blood pressure. You may also develop a fistula (abnormal connection between your blood vessels). You may have a pseudoaneurysm, a condition that causes the wall of your blood vessel to widen. A pseudoaneurysm may also cause bleeding if it bursts.
  • Air may enter the space around your lung, causing your lung to collapse. You may need a blood transfusion or surgery to fix problems that may occur after your procedure. If the mass in your kidney is cancer, this procedure may cause the cancer to spread. Rarely, this procedure may lead to kidney loss, or death. Without this procedure, you may not learn the cause of your symptoms.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

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