Histologic information can be pivotal in making treatment decisions. Ultrasound-guided percutaneous biopsy is the current standard, but if this procedure fails or is considered to be high risk, laparoscopic biopsy may be appropriate. A CT or ultrasound scan is obtained to determine whether there is any condition that would mandate biopsy of a particular kidney. The retroperitoneal space is entered with a visual obturator, and, after CO2 insufflation to 15 to 20 mm Hg, the space is enlarged initially by blunt dissection with the laparoscope. Two-tooth biopsy forceps are used to obtain tissue, and hemostasis is achieved with the argon beam coagulator with care to vent the increased pressure created by the flow of gas. Postoperatively, specific attention is given to blood pressure control. Hemorrhage is the most common serious complication, so any anticoagulation regimen must be reinstituted cautiously.
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