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J Urol. 2019 Jun;201(6):1080-1087. doi: 10.1097/JU.0000000000000113.

Risk Factors for Complications and Nondiagnostic Results following 1,155 Consecutive Percutaneous Core Renal Mass Biopsies.

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Department of Urology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health , Madison , Wisconsin.
Department of Radiology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health , Madison , Wisconsin.



The purpose of this study was to evaluate patient, tumor and technical factors associated with procedural complications and nondiagnostic findings following percutaneous core renal mass biopsy.


We reviewed core renal mass biopsies from 2000 to 2017. Complications at 30 days or less were graded using the Clavien-Dindo system. Univariate and multivariable analyses were done to evaluate associations between clinical characteristics and the risk of complications or nondiagnostic findings.


Of the 1,155 biopsies performed in a total of 965 patients procedural complications were identified in 24 patients (2.2%), including 5 (0.4%) with major complications (Clavien 3a or greater). No patients were identified with tumor seeding of the biopsy tract. Patient age, body mass index, gender, Charlson comorbidity index, smoking, mass diameter, nephrometry score, number of cores and prior biopsy were not associated with complication risk (p = 0.06 to 0.53). Complications were not increased for patients on aspirin or those with low platelets (25,000 to 160,000/μl blood) or a mildly elevated INR (international normalized ratio) (1.2 to 2.0, p = 0.16, 0.07 and 0.50, respectively). The complication risk was not increased during the initial 50 cases of a radiologist or when a trainee was present (p = 0.35 and 0.12, respectively). Nondiagnostic findings were present in 14.6% of biopsies. Independent predictors included cystic features, contrast enhancement, mass diameter and skin-to-mass distance (p <0.001, 0.002, 0.02 and 0.049, respectively). Radiologist experience was not associated with the nondiagnostic rate (p = 0.23). Prior nondiagnostic biopsy was not associated with an increased nondiagnostic rate on subsequent attempts (19.2% vs 14.2%, p = 0.23).


Procedural complications following biopsy are rare even with low serum platelets, a mildly elevated INR or when the patient remains on aspirin. Cystic features, hypo-enhancement on imaging, a smaller mass diameter and a longer skin-to-tumor distance increase the risk of nondiagnostic findings.


aspirin; biopsy; carcinoma; hemorrhage; kidney neoplasms; renal cell

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