Preparing for a Renal (Kidney) Scan

A kidney scan is an in-depth analysis of your kidneys. It's a painless test that can catch kidney problems early, so your healthcare team can handle them from the start.

A nuclear renal scan provides clear information about the kidneys, blood flow, and nearby tissues. This scan helps doctors diagnose and track kidney conditions more accurately, leading to better results for patients.

If you or a loved one could benefit from a renal scan, we are here to help with all your imaging needs.

Continue reading to learn more about renal scanning. 

What Is a Renal Scan?

A renal scan, also called renal scintigraphy, is a medical test to check how your kidneys work and what they look like.

In this test, a small amount of a radioactive substance (radiotracer) is put into your arm through a vein. Your kidneys absorb this substance and give off gamma rays that a special camera can see.

There are different types of nuclear medicine renal scans, including static, dynamic, and diuretic, each with a specific purpose.

The scan type you get depends on what your healthcare provider wants to know.

What Does a Renal Scan Procedure Show?

The primary purposes of a renal scan are to

  • Evaluate kidney function
  • Detect abnormalitieslike cysts, tumors, or congenital anomalies.
  • Assess blood flow,which is vital in cases of kidney transplant evaluation or renal artery stenosis.

What Can a Nuclear Medicine (NM) Renal Scan Diagnose?

A nuclear medicine renal scan can diagnose various kidney-related conditions, including

  • Chronic kidney disease (CKD)
    This is a progressive and often silent condition in which the kidneys' filtering abilities deteriorate over time, potentially leading to serious health complications.
  • Renal artery stenosis
    Renal artery stenosis is a narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the kidneys. This condition can lead to high blood pressure and impaired kidney function.
  • Hydronephrosis
    This condition is a swelling of one or both kidneys due to a blockage in the urinary tract due to kidney stones, tumors, or congenital abnormalities.
  • Kidney injuries
  • Kidney infection (e.g., Pyelonephritis)
  • Tumors and masses

NM renal scans are also used to assess the health and function of transplanted kidneys and monitor for complications.

Renal scan results and other medical information help doctors decide how to treat kidney problems. If you're worried about your kidneys, talk to a healthcare provider who can decide if a kidney scan is needed for you.

How Long Does a Renal Scan Take?

The time it takes for a renal scan can differ based on the type of scan.

A typical renal scan takes 30 minutes to one hour, plus some extra time for getting ready and finishing up.

If it's a more complex scan or has special needs, it might take longer.

If you're worried about how long it will take, check with your healthcare provider or the imaging center for the exact timing of your scan.

Enhance Your Kidney Health With a Renal Scan in North Carolina

Your kidney health is important to us. 

With clinics conveniently located in Fayetteville, North Carolina, our dedicated team at Valley Radiology specializes in advanced imaging solutions, including kidney scans, for individuals seeking comprehensive health assessments. 

We are here to assist you if you or a loved one needs a thorough kidney-related imaging examination. 

If you’ve been referred to us for a kidney scan, our team will be in touch with you shortly for scheduling.

Please note that a doctor’s referral is required for all nuclear heart tests and all other services except mammograms.