How To Prepare
Before your kidney scan, tell your
- You are or might be pregnant.
are breast-feeding. The radioactive tracer used in this test can get into
your breast milk. Do not breast-feed your baby for 2 days after this test.
During this time, you can give your baby breast milk you stored before the test,
or you can give formula. Discard the breast milk you pump for 2 days after the test.
- Within the past 4 days, you have had an
X-ray test using barium contrast material (such as a
barium enema) or have taken a medicine (such as
Pepto-Bismol) that contains bismuth. Barium and bismuth can interfere with test
- You have had an X-ray test using contrast material in the
last 48 hours. X-ray tests with contrast material may include an intravenous
pyelogram (IVP) or abdominal
computed tomography (CT) scan.
You may be asked to drink 2 to 3 glasses of water right
before the scan.
You may be asked to sign a consent form.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need
for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To
help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
A kidney scan is usually done by a
nuclear medicine technologist. The scan pictures are usually interpreted by a
nuclear medicine specialist.
Before the test
You will need
to remove any jewelry that might interfere with the scan. You may need to take
off all or most of your clothes, depending on which area is being examined (you
may be allowed to keep on your underwear if it does not interfere with the
test). You will be given a cloth or paper covering to use during the
During the test
The technologist cleans the site on your arm where the
radioactive tracer will be injected. A small amount of the radioactive tracer
is then injected. Medicine to increase your urine output (a diuretic) may also
be injected. You may lie on your back on a table, stand, or sit upright. A
large scanning camera will be positioned closely above your belly
will scan for radiation right after the radioactive tracer is injected. Scans
may be taken every few minutes for about 30 minutes. More pictures may be taken 1 to 2 hours after the tracer was injected. The scans produce pictures
as the tracer moves through your kidneys. You may also be given medicine to
help the scans check for certain kidney functions.
A chart called
a renogram may be made using the information from the kidney scan by
plotting the movement of the tracer through the kidneys and recording it on a
graph. A series of chart recordings is then made based on the amount of tracer
uptake in the kidneys over a period of time. These recordings provide
information about different phases of blood flow and kidney function.
A kidney scan usually takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
You need to remain very still during each scan to avoid
blurring the pictures. The camera does not produce any radiation, so you are
not exposed to any more radiation while the scan is being done.