HealthCan a Kidney Biopsy Diagnose Renal Diseases?

Can a Kidney Biopsy Diagnose Renal Diseases?

Human kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that play an important role in filtering waste products and excess fluids from your blood. When these vital organs malfunction, it can lead to a variety of health problems. While blood and urine tests along with imaging techniques can provide initial clues, a kidney biopsy often becomes the ideal standard for diagnosing the specific type of renal disease and the stages of renal disease that is affecting you. 

What is a kidney biopsy?

A kidney biopsy is a minimally invasive procedure where a doctor extracts a small sample of tissue from your kidney. This sample is then examined under a microscope by a pathologist who can identify abnormalities and pinpoint the type of kidney disease you may be dealing with. 

There are two main types of kidney biopsies:

Percutaneous biopsy:

This is the most common type, where a thin needle is inserted through your skin and guided by ultrasound or X-ray to collect the tissue sample. 

Open biopsy:

This is a surgical procedure performed under general anesthesia where a small incision is made in your abdomen to access the kidney directly. 

Reach out to the best kidney doctor in Coimbatore if you are looking to undergo a kidney biopsy. 

When is a kidney biopsy recommended?

A kidney biopsy is not a routine test. Doctors usually recommend it when other diagnostic methods are inconclusive or fail to provide a clear picture  of the underlying problem. Here are some common reasons a doctor might suggest a kidney biopsy:

Unexplained changes in blood or urine tests:

Blood tests that reveal abnormal levels of creatinine or urea nitrogen, or urine tests that show presence of blood or protein can indicate kidney abnormalities. A biopsy can determine the causes of chronic renal failure. 

Rapidly progressive kidney disease:

A sudden decline in kidney function requires prompt diagnosis to determine the best course of treatment. 

Suspected glomerular disease:

Glomeruli are tiny filters within the kidneys. A biopsy can help diagnose diseases affecting these filters such as glomerulonephritis. 

Unexplained kidney pain or abnormal imaging:

While imaging techniques like ultrasound or CT scans can reveal structural abnormalities, a biopsy helps understand the underlying cause. 

Monitoring a transplanted kidney:

After a kidney transplant, a biopsy can be used to monitor the health of the new organ and detect signs of rejection.

How does a kidney biopsy help diagnose renal disease?

The kidney biopsy sample is carefully examined by a pathologist under a microscope. The pathologist can analyze various aspects of the tissue, including:

Cell structure and morphology:

Looking for abnormalities in the size, shape, and arrangement of cells can provide clues about the type of disease. 

Presence of inflammation:

Inflammation within the kidney tissue can indicate an autoimmune or immune-complex mediated disease. 

Scarring and fibrosis:

The extent of scarring can help determine the severity of kidney damage. 

Deposits of abnormal substances:

Certain diseases may cause the deposition of specific substances like immune complexes or amyloid in the kidney tissue. 

By analyzing these features, the pathologist can provide a definitive diagnosis of the specific type of renal disease affecting you. This information is important to determine the best course of treatment. 

Here are some best examples of how a kidney biopsy aids in diagnosing specific renal diseases:


This group of diseases affects the glomeruli. A biopsy can identify the specific type of glomerulonephritis, such as IgA nephropathy or membranous nephropathy, which help guide treatment decisions.

Lupus nephritis:

This kidney complication of lupus can be diagnosed with a biopsy that reveals specific immune deposits in the kidney tissue.

Diabetic nephropathy:

While it does not provide a definitive diagnosis, a biopsy can help assess the severity of kidney damage caused by diabetes. 

What are the benefits of undergoing a kidney biopsy?

The primary benefit of a kidney biopsy is its ability to provide an accurate diagnosis on the specific type of renal disease. In case you are looking to undergo a kidney biopsy, the kidney biopsy test cost in Coimbatore is quite affordable  This information helps your doctor to:

Develop a targeted treatment plan:

The specific type of kidney disease determines the most effective treatment approach. 

Monitor disease progression:

A biopsy can be used to track the progress of the disease and assess the response to treatment. 

Determine the prognosis:

Understanding the type and severity of the disease helps predict the long-term outcome. 

Important Takeaway:

Kidney biopsy is an ideal way to identify several kidney disorders and help in treatment decisions.

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