Outpatient Transplant Kidney Biopsy
A biopsy is often advised when your creatinine is elevated. It may also be needed if you are in a desensitization protocol. The biopsy is done to find the cause of your kidney problem, or to make sure there is no rejection. This will help us decide what the best plan is for you. The purpose of the handout is to explain the procedure, how to prepare for it, and how to care for yourself afterwards. If you have any questions, you can call the Transplant Clinic.
How is a Transplant Kidney Biopsy Done?
The area of skin where the needle is inserted is numbed to reduce pain. An ultrasound machine is used to locate the exact place to insert the needle. A special needle is inserted through the skin and into the kidney to obtain the kidney tissue. A small piece of tissue is taken and looked at under a microscope.
The procedure, including the ultrasound, takes less than half an hour. But, you will spend most of the day in the transplant clinic to prepare for and recover after the procedure.
How to Prepare for the Biopsy
1. Do not take aspirin, ibuprofen, or any over-the-counter medicines that may contain them the day of the biopsy. You may take Tylenol® if you need to for any reason.
2. If you are on a blood thinner like warfarin (Coumadin®) or clopidogrel (Plavix®) be sure to discuss with your transplant coordinator before the biopsy. You may need to be off this drug for a period of time before the biopsy.
3. Plan to have a driver with you. If you receive any IV medicine to help you relax, you should not drive or make important personal or business decisions until the next day. If you do not receive medicine to help you relax, you may be able to drive yourself home.
4. Do not eat anything after midnight on the night before the biopsy. You may have clear liquids. If you have diabetes, ask your transplant coordinator about your insulin dose for the morning of the biopsy.
5. If you take blood pressure pills in the morning, take them as usual with a small sip of water.
6. Please bring all of your medicines with you so you can take them after you have blood tests drawn.
7. You will be resting on a cart for 4 hours after the biopsy. We suggest you wear loose, comfortable clothes. You may also want to bring a book to read or some other quiet activity to do while recovering.
- Please report to the lab at 7:30 a.m.(unless you have been told to arrive at a different time). Your orders will already be in the lab. Blood tests will be drawn and an IV will be put in.
- After you have your blood tests drawn, report to the transplant clinic.
- The biopsy will be done in the transplant clinic.
- Plan to be in clinic all day. You will typically be able to leave around 4:30 pm.
After the Biopsy
- Your recovery will include 4 hours of bed rest.
- The site will be covered by a Band-Aid®. A sandbag will also cover the biopsy site for the first hour.
- You will have nothing to eat or drink for 1 hour. Then, a bag lunch will be served.
- Your blood pressure and pulse will be checked every 15 minutes for the first hour, every 30 minutes for the next 2 hours, and then hourly until you go home.
- After three hours, a blood sample will be taken.
- Results may be ready before you leave. We will discuss a plan for your care with you. This may involve staying in the hospital. Your transplant coordinator may have to call you the following day wtih some results.
After You Go Home
- For the rest of the day, plan quiet activities. No driving. Do not drink alcoholic beverages.
- You may remove the Band-Aid® from the site the next morning and take a shower. You may notice a small amount of bruising or tenderness near the site. You may expect some local pain for which you can take Tylenol®.
- No vigorous exercise or heavy lifting (greater than 10 lbs) for 3 days.
- If you have any of these symptoms, call the doctor:
- Pain that is new or not improving each day. You can expect to have a bruised feeling.
- Abdominal pain
- Blood in the urine that develops after you have gone home.
If results were not available to you, plan to call your coordinator a few days after the biopsy to disccuss results.
Transplant Clinic, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Nights and Weekends, the clinic number is answered by the paging operator. Ask for the transplant coordinator on call. Tell the transplant coordinator you had a kidney biopsy and what problems you are having.
If you live out of the area, call 1-800-323-8942. Ask for the transplant coordinator on call.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 02/04/2013
Copyright © 11/18/2011 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6753
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