Nephrology is the medical specialty that deals with diseases of the kidneys. Nephrologists deal with illnesses that are caused by lowered kidney function, such as certain types of hypertension. They also treat illnesses that harm the kidneys, such as acute kidney disease. Other specific diseases and disorders that are treated by a nephrologist include:
Chronic kidney disease
Polycystic kidney disease
Acute renal failure
Blood or protein in the urine (hematuria or proteinuria)
Nephritis, or inflammation of the kidneys
Pediatric nephrologists specialize in kidney diseases and disorders affecting infants and children. They may see children for inherited kidney diseases, recurring urinary tract infections, or high blood pressure, among other problems.
A nephrologist may use lab tests, ultrasound, and biopsies to diagnose the problem for their patients. They might prescribe treatments ranging from diet changes to dialysis to transplants. Most kidney problems are chronic, meaning that they last for a long time. Thus, nephrologists get to know their patients well and may treat them for many years.
What is a Biopsy?
A biopsy is a procedure performed to remove a small sample of cells for testing. The cells are examined in a laboratory to check for disease, or sometimes to see how badly a known disease is affecting them. Biopsy can be performed on any part of the body.
Although biopsy is most often associated with cancer, it can also be used to check for other diseases, such as infections. A biopsy sample can be scraped, cut, collected with a needle, taken with a machine that punches out a tiny piece, or removed with the tiny tools in an endoscope.
In most cases, a biopsy is a simple outpatient procedure. Depending on your procedure, you may need to stop taking certain medications beforehand, such as blood thinners. Be certain to tell your doctor if you are pregnant, as certain biopsies require the use of x-rays to guide the needle to the right location. There is usually very little pain associated with a biopsy. You will have to wait a few days to hear the results.