Needle Biopsy of the Kidney: What to Expect at Home
A kidney biopsy is a test to take a sample (biopsy) of kidney. The doctor puts a long needle through your back (flank) into the kidney. Another doctor will look at the kidney tissue with a microscope to check for problems.
After the test, you will be told to lie down on your back for several hours. After this, you should avoid strenuous activity for about 1 week.
It's normal to feel some soreness in the area of the biopsy for 2 to 3 days. You may have a small amount of bleeding on the bandage after the test. You may notice some blood in your urine after the test. This should go away within 12 to 24 hours. If it doesn't, call your doctor or Health Link at 811.
It can take several days to get the results of the biopsy. The doctor or nurse will discuss the results with you.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to feel better as quickly as possible.
How can you care for yourself at home?
- For 1 week, avoid lifting anything that would make you strain. This may include heavy grocery bags and milk containers, a heavy briefcase or backpack, cat litter or dog food bags, a vacuum cleaner, or a child.
- Avoid strenuous activities, such as bicycle riding, jogging, weight lifting, or aerobic exercise, for 1 week or until your doctor says it is okay.
- Try to walk each day. Start by walking a little more than you did the day before. Bit by bit, increase the amount you walk. Walking boosts blood flow and helps you recover.
- Rest when you feel tired. Getting enough sleep will help you recover.
- Ask you doctor when you can drive again.
- You may need to take 1 or 2 days off from work. It depends on the type of work you do and how you feel.
- You can eat your normal diet. If your stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods like plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, and yogurt.
- Drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated.
- Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. They will also give you instructions about taking any new medicines.
- If you take aspirin or some other blood thinner, ask your doctor when to start taking it again. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
- Do not take aspirin or anti-inflammatory medicines (such as ibuprofen) for a week after the biopsy.
- Keep a bandage over the puncture site for the first 1 or 2 days.
- You may shower 1 or 2 days after the procedure, if your doctor says it is okay. Pat the incision dry. Do not put creams, lotions, or ointments on the incision.
- Do not take a bath, swim, or use a hot tub until the incision is completely healed (no longer has a scab).
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
When should you call for help?
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
- You passed out (lost consciousness).
Call your doctor or Health Link at 811 now or seek immediate medical care if:
- You have signs of infection, such as:
- Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
- Red streaks leading from the puncture site.
- Pus draining from the puncture site.
- A fever.
- Bright red blood has soaked through the bandage over the puncture site.
- You have new or worse pain at the puncture site.
Watch closely for any changes in your health, and call your doctor or Health Link at 811 if:
- You have blood in your urine for more than 1 day.
Where can you learn more?
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
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Adaptation Date: 2/24/2022
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services