Kidney (renal) ultrasound scan

What is an ultrasound scan?

Ultrasound is a painless procedure that uses high frequency sound waves to build up a picture of your kidneys. The waves are sent out and the reflected echoes received by a single hand held instrument that moves across the skin. A computer then builds up the received waves and creates a picture on a small monitor that can be viewed by the operator. The images can be printed out and are stored on computer disk.

Ultrasound scans are used to check organs for the presence of cysts, growths and infection

What preparations are needed for renal ultrasound?

In order to be able to view the kidneys better, it is important to have a full bladder before the investigation, if possible.

You may also be asked to wear a gown.

What happens during the test?

If you are attending as an outpatient you will need to report to X-Ray Reception. From there, you will be sent to a waiting area from where you will be called to the Ultrasound Room.

Helping you with the scan will be an x-ray nurse or radiographer and a doctor who will perform the scan. The room will be darkened but not totally in order that the picture on the computer screen may be seen more easily. You will be made comfortable on a couch and asked to remove or pull up clothing so that the Doctor can carry out the scan. A gel will be applied to the skin. This makes it easier for the hand-held ultrasound probe to move over the skin. It wipes off easily after the test. The scan should take about 15 minutes.

The scan is painless but you may feel some mild discomfort if the doctor has to press more firmly to get a better picture.

You may have to wait for a short period before having your scan. This is because emergencies come first.


re there any after effects?

There are no after effects related to ultrasound. If you are an outpatient, you will be able to go home and eat and drink normally.

When will I get the results?

If you are an outpatient the results will be discussed with you at your next appointment with your consultant’s team. If you are an inpatient, the results should be available to discuss with your doctor within 24 hours.

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