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Renal Biopsy

See Specimen Submission Instructions for test requisition, specimen labeling and specimen packaging requirements.

Specimen Collection:

Biopsy specimens may be obtained by radiology-guided percutaneous needle biopsy or open-wedge biopsy performed in surgery. Three needle biopsy pieces are preferable; however, instructions include handling of case with a single piece. Wedge biopsies from surgery are generally very adequate in size and pose no problem if glomeruli are present.


  • 10% Formalin – Light Microscopy
  • Zeus or Michel’s Fixative – Immunofluorescence
  • Glutaraldehyde – Electron Microscopy (EM)

NOTE: All three tests can be done from Zeus/Michel’s Fixative if necessary; however, the light microscopy isn’t as distinctive. EM can be done from 10% formalin (and routinely is when case involves needle biopsy). Immunofluorescence can only be done from Zeus/Michel’s fixative.


  • If only one specimen can be obtained, it should be submitted in Zeus/Michel’s fixative.
  • If two specimens are obtained, they should be submitted (one each) in Zeus and formalin.


  • Slice the wedge biopsy into 1-2 mm pieces in ‘bread-loaf’ fashion, including a piece of the capsule in each.
  • Take 1-2 pieces and cut into 2-mm squares and submit in Zeus/Michel’s fixative.
  • Take 1-2 pieces and cut into 1-mm squares and submit in Gluteraldehyde.
  • Place remaining pieces in formalin.

Send all labeled containers down to pathology to be sent out to specified reference laboratory.

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