Renal Scan

What is a renal scan?

Functional Renal Scan Image A renal scan is an exam that evaluates the function of the entire urinary system.

We do the test by giving your child an intravenous radiopharmaceutical. This "tracer" is medicine combined with a small amount of radioactive material. It travels to the area of your child we need to see and is detected and imaged by a gamma camera.

Radiopharmaceuticals are carefully tested. The risk of side effects is extremely small. Most radiopharmaceuticals used in nuclear medicine studies give less radiation exposure than a day at the beach.

What should you do prior to your child's exam?

  • Your child should not have certain radiographic contrast 24 hours prior to the exam.
  • Dress your child comfortably, in clothes that are easily removed. Your child may be given a gown to change into for the procedure.
  • We have a large variety of video entertainment to choose from, however, your child can also bring along a favorite movie to watch during the exam.
  • You may want to bring a snack or drink for your child to have after the exam.

Note: Parents will be allowed to accompany their child into the exam room. It may be helpful to make other arrangements for siblings.

What should you expect during the exam?

  • A technologist or nurse will place an IV in your child’s arm, hand or foot. Your child may feel a small pinch.
  • The technologist will ask why the functional renal scan is being done, and will explain the study to you and your child. Some children may require a urinary catheter, which will be placed by the technologist.
  • The technologist will inject the tracer through the IV line.
  • Your child will have to lie still for about one hour while the images are taken. The camera will be above the table and will come close to but will not touch your child.
  • After viewing the initial images, the nuclear medicine physician may want to take more.
  • Your child will be given IV fluids during the exam to ensure he stays well hydrated.
  • Your child will also be given Lasix through the IV during the imaging portion of the exam. This diuretic medication makes the bladder and kidneys empty and increases the urge to urinate.

If you’d like, our child life specialists will help you prepare and support your child during the procedure. We can also arrange to have a child life specialist at your child's appointment to explain the procedure in developmentally appropriate ways and to help your child better cope with the stress of the hospital experience.

What should you do after the exam?

There are no special instructions for your child to follow when the procedure is over.

Test results

The images from your child's exam are interpreted on the same day and a report is sent to your physician's office.

Your physician may call 215-590-2584 with questions about the exam.