How a Renal Ultrasound Works – Helpful Guide

A renal ultrasound is a noninvasive procedure that is used to assess the location, size and shape of the kidneys. An ultrasound will allow for a quick visualization and the related structures. And it can also be used to assess the blood flow to the kidneys.

Kidney Ultrasound Procedure

Renal Ultrasound

The body will take nutrients from food and convert it into energy. After the body has chosen the food that it needs, waste will be left behind in the blood and bowel. The urinary system and kidneys will keep such chemicals as sodium and potassium and water in balance, removing the waste from the blood.

The ultrasound tech will use a handheld device referred to as a transducer. The transducer sends out an ultrasonic sound wave at a frequency that’s too high to be heard. When this device is placed on the abdomen at certain angles and locations, the sound waves will move through body tissues to the structures and organs of the abdomen. The sound waves will bounce off the organs and return to the handheld device.

An ultrasound will be used to detect obstructions, cysts, abscesses, infection and fluid collection around or within the kidneys. Kidney stones can also be detected. It may be performed in order to assist with the placement of needles that are used to biopsy or to drain fluids from an abscess or cyst or to insert a drainage tube. This type of procedure can also be used to determine the blood flow to the kidneys through the veins and renal arteries. It may also be needed after the transplant in order to evaluate the newly transplanted kidney.

During a Kidney Ultrasound

Kidney Ultrasound

There is no discomfort during this type of procedure and no radiation used. There may be some risks depending on the patient’s specific medical condition. Certain conditions or factors can interfere with the results of this test. These conditions and factors include intestinal gas, obesity and barium within the intestines.

Before the procedure your doctor will explain the test and offer you the opportunity to ask any questions. Usually no sedation or fasting is required for preparation. This test can be performed on an outpatient basis or it can be part of your hospital stay.

If the blood flow is being assessed during the test a Doppler probe will be used. If your bladder needs to be examined as well you will be asked to empty the bladder after the scan has been completed and additional scans of the empty bladder may be needed.

While a renal ultrasound doesn’t cause pain, having to remain still for the duration of the test can cause slight discomfort. After the procedure there will be no special type of care required. The patient will be able to resume their usual activities and diet unless their physician advises them differently.