What is Kidney Biopsy?

A kidney biopsy, also called renal biopsy, is a procedure to remove a small piece of kidney tissue so that it can be examined under a microscope for signs of damage or disease. Your doctor may recommend a kidney biopsy if blood tests, urine tests or imaging techniques don't provide enough information to diagnose a kidney problem.

A kidney biopsy may also be used to determine the severity of kidney disease or to find out if treatment for kidney disease is working. You may need a kidney biopsy if you've had a kidney transplant that's not working properly. Most kidney biopsies are performed by inserting a thin needle through the skin. In this procedure, an imaging device helps guide the needle into one of your kidneys to remove tissue.