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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:

  • Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your healthcare provider. Tell your provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your provider if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
  • Ask your healthcare provider if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if you know or think you might be pregnant.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if you have other medical conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. You also need to let your healthcare provider know if you only have one kidney.
  • You may need blood and urine tests before your procedure. You may need an ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about these and other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.
  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.

The day of your procedure:

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives healthcare providers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • Healthcare providers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell healthcare providers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.


What will happen:

  • A numbing medicine called anesthesia 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.

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 cannot make it to your procedure on time.
  • You have a cold or the flu.
  • You have blood in your urine.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • You urinate only small amounts or not at all.


  • 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.

Care Agreement

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

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.