Medical Imaging

Nuclear Medicine > Exams & Procedures > Renal Scan

This scan tests the level of function of each kidney.

The test involves the injection of a radioactive tracer that will flow through the bloodstream and be filtered out by the kidneys. Pictures are taken continuously from the time the tracer is injected for half an hour. At the end of 30 minutes you are asked to use the washroom and then a one-minute picture is taken.

Preparation

  • You should drink plenty of water prior to the test and use the washroom immediately before the test begins.
  • Bring a list of all medications and supplements you take. This includes vitamins, herbal remedies, and holistic medications.
  • Do not bring children or pregnant women with you to the department. We do not want to expose them to unnecessary radiation.
  • Any of these procedures is subject to change according to the nuclear medicine physician. The duration of the tests is a rough estimate. Please be aware that the time may be lengthened if a scan has to be repeated, if emergency cases are brought to the department or due to unforeseen circumstances.

About the Procedure

  • The procedure takes about 45 minutes.
  • A technologist will briefly explain the test to you and try to answer any questions you may have about the procedure.
  • A technologist will ask you a few questions about your medical history and medications.
  • You will be asked to go to the washroom immediately before the test is started.
  • You will be asked to lie down on an imaging bed.
  • A camera will be positioned below you (above you if you have had a kidney transplant).
  • The technologist will give you an injection of a radioactive tracer into a vein.
  • Pictures are taken as the tracer is injected and for the next 30 minutes. It is very important that you do not move during these pictures.
  • At the end of the half hour you are asked to use the washroom.
  • You will be repositioned above the camera and a one-minute picture will be taken.