Biopsy – What is it exactly?

Now it’s over and done with, I can write about it without too much psychological trauma! Now if you are squeamish, hate readng about surgical procedures, you may best be advised to read no further than this paragraph.

Well done you are still with me!

I had my biopsy done at about 12pm yesterday. They inserted a Cannula into one of the veins of my left hand, in order to administer an IV drip of fluid. I believe the fluid was a blood thinning agent of some sort to help relax the blood as it passes through the kidney or something like that. Then they moved my bed to an adjoining private room to begin the procedure.

I had to lie flat and straight on the bed throughout the surgical process, incidentally I had to sign a consent form beforehand and they do outline the risks involved which are unlikely to happen (and they didn’t in my case). I was attended to by a team of two, one consultant and a senior nurse whom I have got to know pretty well over the past month. The consultant didn’t waste any time and he got down to business very quickly, swabbing some cold antiseptic gel over the area upon which he was about to work on, my lower belly basically. Then he uses an ultrasound scanner which has more of the gel on its sensor to analyse the area of my abdomen and the transplanted kidney that lies beneath it. My transplant is on the right hand side, lower abdomen, just next to my stomach in a cavity where there is some space and where they can easily “plumb” it into my bladder.

Having taken a good look at the kidney, he commented on how good it was looking and that it is working away very evidently.

Now comes the yucky bit!

They use local anesthetic to numb an area of the skin, then press the needle down further so that it penetrates through to the kidney and apply another dose of the treatment there too. This does briefly sting like a wasp’s sting but isn’t too bad. The numbness is sharp and profound though and my whole belly felt as if it was paralysed, quite a weird sensation. The consultant uses the ultrasound to find his way.

Next up, he gets out a tool that looks something like you would buy from a DIY store (sort of). The device is part needle, part, errrr, “grabber” I guess is the only way I can really describe it! He then used this to got through the hole he had made in my belly, to reach for the surface of the kidney and “CLUNK”, he has a little piece of my kidney which goes into a little pot! I could hear gasps of admiration for my kidney sample from the nurse, “Wow that’s a really beautiful piece of kidney!”, she exlaimed. “How could it look nice?”, I ask in a very restrained way (it hurts to talk when your belly is very numb and there is a hole in it!).

They repeated this twice more!

Finally after a little bit of cleaning up around the puncture wound he had made in me! They applied some pressure to stem the bleeding, dressed it and then placed a saline pack on top to apply weight to the area and that was that. I was then wheeled back to the ward and remained flat on my back for the next 6 hours!

The pain was quite accute for awhile, it felt as if I had been punched in the stomach by a hard nutter whom I had foolishly picked a fight with in a Pub brawl. However an hour later this started to ease off and I was feeling a lot more comfortable. I kept myself amused with my brace of gadgets (Ipod, phone with mobile internet) and tucked into Richard Hammonds book “As you do…” which I am really enjoying, you should get it!

The result in the end was very good and I went home at the end of the day. Today I will get to find out a little more when I see a Doctor who will debrief me on everything. My Tacrolimus medication has been dropped to 5mg twice a day, as they feel this is probably too strong for me.

More later….

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