Renal Scan

A renal scan is a procedure used to look at the kidneys using radioactive isotopes. Isotopes are substances which give off radioactive emissions (rays). These rays are picked up by a special camera which is similar to a Geiger counter. These particular isotopes will go to the area in your body your caregiver wants to study. This camera then produces images on film which your caregivers will interpret. These radioactive compounds are very short-lived and last in your body for a very short time. They are not harmful to you.


  • Allergies.

  • Medicines taken including herbs, eyedrops, over-the-counter medicines, and creams.

  • Use of steroids (by mouth or creams).

  • Previous problems with anesthetics or numbing medicine.

  • Possibility of pregnancy, if this applies.

  • History of blood clots (thrombophlebitis).

  • History of bleeding or blood problems.

  • Previous surgery.

  • Other health problems.


  • You may be asked to drink extra fluids for 24 hours prior to and following your exam. Follow instructions carefully.

  • You should be present 60 minutes prior to your procedure or as directed.


  • A small needle will be placed in a vein in your arm or hand which may stay in place for the entire exam.

  • A small amount of very short-acting radioactive material will be injected. This should not cause side effects.

  • Your kidneys will then be scanned using a special camera which will record the images. This part of the exam takes about 1 hour.

  • A specialist in reading X-rays (radiologist) can then evaluate the films and give his impression to your caregiver.

  • Following the test you may go home, unless otherwise instructed, and resume normal activities and diet as instructed. Drink enough fluids to keep your urine clear or pale yellow.