Kidney biopsy in the interventional radiology department

This information is about having a small procedure called a kidney (renal) biopsy in the interventional radiology (IR) department.

A kidney biopsy is a procedure, where we remove a small sample of tissue from your kidney with a thin needle. The sample is then examined in detail under a microscope.

A specially trained doctor called an interventional radiologist (IR doctor) does the procedure. They use an ultrasound or CT scanner to put the biopsy needle accurately into the kidney.

The aim of the information is to help answer some of your questions about having a kidney biopsy. It explains:

If you have any more questions or concerns about your procedure, please contact the interventional radiology (IR) department.

Benefits of the procedure

A biopsy can help your doctor to diagnose a kidney condition and make sure that you get the right treatment.

We can do a kidney biopsy to:

Risks of the procedure

Complications are rare after having a kidney biopsy. There is a risk of bleeding and we monitor you closely after the procedure to detect this. 

If there are signs that you might be bleeding a lot, you might need to return for an ultrasound scan. We can then check if there is a blood clot outside the kidney. In most cases, there is only a small amount of bleeding after a kidney biopsy and this does not need special treatment.

If there is an unexpected amount of bleeding, you might need a blood transfusion. This is when we give you blood that someone else has donated. 

In rare cases, you might need a different X-ray test called an angiogram. We can then find the specific area that is bleeding. It is sometimes possible to stop the bleeding during the angiogram. Very rarely, you might need an operation to remove the kidney.

In less than 5 out of 100 cases (3 to 5%), you may see blood in your urine after a kidney biopsy. This is called haematuria.

Call 999 or go to A&E now if:

you have bleeding that does not stop or is bright red after your kidney biopsy

Other treatment options

We usually do a kidney biopsy when other tests have not shown the cause of your symptoms.

Unless you have a kidney biopsy, your doctor might not be able to recommend the best treatment for you.

If you decide not to have a biopsy done first, your doctor can explain what changes in treatment might help your kidneys.

Resource number: 0573/VER6
Last reviewed: February 2024
Next review due: February 2027

A list of sources is available on request.

Trusted Information Creator. Patient Information Forum

Contact us

If you have any questions or concerns about a kidney biopsy, please contact the interventional radiology (IR) department.


We are open from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

If you need urgent medical attention or are worried about anything outside of working hours, contact a GP, call 111 or go to A&E.

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If you have any questions or concerns about your medicines, please speak to the staff caring for you.

You can also contact our pharmacy medicines helpline.

Phone: 020 7188 8748, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Email: [email protected]

We aim to respond to emails within 2 working days.

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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