Renal Scan

Nuclear Medicine is a branch of diagnostic imaging that examines the function of many organs and body systems, including the kidneys.

A nuclear renal scan examines the blood flow and function of the kidneys using a small amount of a radioactive chemical (tracer or radiopharmaceutical) that is injected into an arm vein. A gamma camera placed over the kidneys images or maps the pattern of tracer passing through the kidneys, giving information useful in diagnosing conditions such as obstruction, low or uneven function, scarring and bladder reflux.

A renal perfusion study or renogram examines the blood flow and function of the kidneys using a small amount of a radioactive chemical (called tracers, radiopharmaceuticals or DTPA) that is injected into an arm vein. A gamma camera placed over the kidneys then maps or takes images of the pattern of the tracer passing through the kidneys, giving information useful in diagnosing conditions such as low or uneven function, malformations and obstructions.

  • Before your scan

    What to bring

    • Your referral form
    • Any relevant previous imaging
    • Your Medicare card and any concession cards

    Preparation

    • A referral from your doctor or medical specialist, and an appointment is required for this examination.
    • If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or caring for a small child on the appointment day, please notify us in advance to receive special instructions.
    • Children under the age of 13 may, by prior arrangement arrive early and have a local anaesthetic cream applied to the injection site.
    • On the morning of the test, drink two or three glasses of water, but avoid excessive amounts of tea or coffee. There is no need to have a full bladder.
  • During your scan

    When you attend your appointment at Apex Radiology you will be asked to answer a few safety questions, remove any jewellery, watches etc, then change into an examination gown. The technologist will explain the scanning procedure then position you for the scan. The radioactive tracer will then be injected into an arm vein. Imaging starts immediately, and you may breathe normally but must try not to move. Initial imaging takes 20 to 30 minutes. Further images may be needed, very occasionally up to two hours later.

    The gamma camera is a large square radiation detector which sits close to the area being examined. In some procedures, it rotates around the body while acquiring images. You will experience no unusual sensations or discomfort from the scanning process.

  • Risks and side effects

    Nuclear medicine examinations are considered very safe with almost no reported adverse reactions attributable to the radiopharmaceuticals used in these examinations. Nuclear Medicine studies require very small doses of gamma radiation and are kept in line with the Dose Reference Levels (DRLs) published and recommended by the Australian and New Zealand Society of Nuclear Medicine.

    If you are worried or concerned about having a Nuclear Medicine study you should discuss this with your referring doctor or medical specialist before coming for your examination. If you think you may be pregnant, please inform our Nuclear Medicine team before your examination.

    For further information regarding radiation safety please visit: https://www.insideradiology.com.au/radiation-risk/

  • Who will perform and report my examination?

    At Apex Radiology your stress test procedure will be carried out by a Nuclear Medicine Technologist who has a degree in Medical Radiation Science and is accredited by the Australian Health Practitioner Registration Agency (AHPRA).

    Your images will be reviewed along with your relevant medical history, and any other imaging, and be reported by our Nuclear Medicine credentialed radiologist or Nuclear Medicine physician (a medical doctor specialising in the interpretation of Nuclear Medicine studies).

  • After your scan

    Little of the radioactive tracer remains in the body after a renal scan, most of the radiotracer is excreted through the kidneys and bladder.

    You can resume your normal activities immediately after the procedure is completed.

  • How do I receive my results?

    If your results are needed urgently, or you have an appointment straight after your scan with your referring doctor or health care provider, Apex Radiology will arrange to have your results available immediately. Otherwise your referring doctor or health care provider will receive your report within 48 hours of your examination.

    Please ensure that you make a follow up appointment with your referring doctor or health care provider to discuss your results.

Make an appointment online or call our dedicated bookings line