Urology - Oncology, Laparoscopy, General Urology Mischel Neill - BHB MBCHB FRACS - Urology - Oncology, Laparoscopy, General Urology Urology - Oncology, Laparoscopy, General Urology
Patient Info


Kidney :: Prostate :: Urinary Bladder :: Testes

The kidneys are situated either side of the vertebral column (spine) and are surrounded by a mass of fat and loose areolar tissue.

Each kidney is about 12cm. long and 6cm wide. The left is somewhat longer, and narrower, than the right. The weight of the kidney is around 150gm.

Healthy kidneys clean your blood by removing excess fluid, minerals, and wastes. They also make hormones that keep the bones strong, the blood healthy and help control blood pressure. If the kidneys fail, harmful wastes build up, blood pressure rises, the body may retain excess fluid and not make enough red blood cells. This can progress to the point where life cannot continue without medical assistance such as dialysis or kidney transplant.

Renal (kidney) biopsy

Renal biopsy involves taking a piece of kidney tissue for microscopic inspection to determine whether an underlying disease is present. The most common reasons are to see if a kidney mass is cancerous or to find out why a kidney is not functioning as well as expected.

The test is done in the hospital, usually in the radiology suite and most commonly is guided with ultrasound imaging. You will be expected to follow instructions given during the test. You will be lying face down on a firm surface. Firm pillows or a rolled towel may be placed beneath the abdominal area to give support.

The kidney is located under ultrasound, and then the health care provider will mark the biopsy site. A local anaesthetic will be given to numb the skin at the biopsy site. A tiny incision is then made in the skin.

You will be asked to take a deep breath, hold it, and remain still as the locating needle (a needle that is used to locate the proper location in the kidney) is inserted through the incision and into the kidney under ultrasound guidance. You will then be asked to take several deep breaths to help verify the position of the needle.

The locating needle depth is measured and then removed. The biopsy needle is inserted following the path of the locating needle. Again, the position of the needle will be verified. The sample is taken, and the needle is removed. Pressure is applied to the biopsy site to stop the bleeding, and a bandage is applied. You will remain in the hospital after the test and lie on your back for some time.


It is contraindicated in a number of different medical conditions including bleeding disorders, uncontrolled hypertension and in those patients taking blood thinning medication.


The complications of the procedure will be discussed more fully before it is undertaken but include bleeding, infection and pain. Spread of disease due to the biopsy process is extremely rare.

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Urology - Oncology, Laparoscopy, General Urology Mischel Neill - BHB MBCHB FRACS Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand