Renal Scan

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Nuclear Medicine utilizes a small amount of radioisotope combined with a pharmaceutical that is targeted to go to a specific organ. The radiopharmaceutical can be injected, inhaled or swallowed and are absorbed by specific cells within your body. Nuclear Medicine exams differ for other radiological exams in that they provide both functional and structural information. The exams are very sensitive and can detect disease at its earliest stage. The exams are safe, relatively painless and the radiation exposure is similar to that of other diagnostic X-Ray exams.

Need to Know

Nice to Know
  • Please inform the technologist if you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant
  • Please allow about 90 minutes for the exam

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Why is This Exam Done?

Renal Exams are used to evaluate the collection and flow of urine from the Kidneys. Some of the more common indications are:

  • Urinary tract obstruction
  • Evaluate Renal Function
  • Renal Vascular Disease
  • Polycystic Kidney disease
  • Post transplant evaluation
  • Pyelonephritis
  • Hydronephrosis

What Will Happen During the Exam?

During the first day of the exam the technologist will explain the procedure and ask you some questions regarding your overall kidney health. The technologist will then place an intravenous line in your arm and inject the radiopharmaceutical utilized to visualize kidneys and urinary tract. The technologist will then immediately begin taking serial images of your kidneys using a Nuclear Medicine camera. The camera does not emit any radiation, but rather detects the radiation emitted from the radiopharmaceutical that was injected. The camera is open so you are not completely surrounded and the technologist may stay in the scan room with you. You will be asked to hold still but you do not need to hold your breath. Many times your physician will ask us to introduce a diuretic called lasix halfway through the exam. This pharmaceutical will help your kidney process urine and excrete it into your ureters and bladder. In some cases this will provide us with further information regarding kidney function. Generally the entire procedure will take about an hour and a half.

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How Should I Prepare?

Clothing

Please wear comfortable clothing, you will be asked to remove any metal objects especially those near your abdominal area.

Medications

You may take any medications prior to the exam

Food and Drink

You may eat or drink prior to the exam

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What Are the Benefits and Risks?

The benefits of Renal Scan:

  • Renal scan provide the clinician both a structural and functional evaluation of the kidneys. They are able to help determine blood flow into the kidneys as well as the kidneys ability to make and excrete urine

Risks you should be aware of:

  • Occasionally, the infusion of the diuretic can cause a strong urge to void.
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Where Can I Get This Exam?

Renal scan is performed at our following locations:

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