Pediatric renal transplant biopsy with ultrasound guidance: the ‘core’ essentials

Aris Oates, Saveen Ahuja, Marsha M. Lee, Andrew S. Phelps, John D. Mackenzie, Jesse L. Courtier

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This review provides a comprehensive and practical approach to pediatric percutaneous renal transplant biopsies, highlighting techniques and strategies to optimize adequate sample yield and ensure patient safety. In children with end-stage renal disease, transplantation is the preferred choice of therapy, providing for overall lower long-term morbidity and mortality compared with dialysis. In the ongoing management of renal transplant patients, core tissue sampling via a percutaneous renal biopsy remains the gold standard when transplant dysfunction is suspected. Indications for renal transplant biopsy and techniques/tools for adequate sample yield are discussed. Strategies for common challenges such as poor visualization and renal transplant mobility are addressed. We discuss the clinical signs, techniques and imaging findings for common complications including hematomas, arteriovenous fistulas and pseudoaneurysms. Although the percutaneous renal transplant biopsy procedure is generally safe with rare complications, care must be taken to ensure major complications are promptly recognized and treated. Adequate tissue samples obtained via renal biopsy are imperative to promptly identify transplant rejection to provide valuable information for patient diagnosis, treatment and outcomes. Radiologist and nephrologist attention to proper ultrasound techniques and optimal biopsy tools are critical to ensure tissue adequacy and minimize complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1572-1579
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric Radiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Biopsy
  • Children
  • Kidney
  • Percutaneous biopsy
  • Transplant
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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