Renal Scan

A renal scan is a nuclear medicine examination that uses small amounts of radioactive materials (radioisotopes) to measure the function of the kidneys.

Preparing for your scan

There is usually no need for fasting, special diets, or preliminary medications before a renal scan.

Tell your doctor if you are taking:

  • Blood pressure medications
  • Any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin® or Advil®), or naproxen (Aleve® 

The day of your scan


  • You may be asked to drink additional fluids before the scan.
  • You will need to remove any jewelry, dentures, and metallic objects before your scan
  • You will be helped onto the s canning machine
  • A small amount of of radioisotope will be injected into one of your veins.  (You may feel a brief sting or pinch when the IV is inserted)
  • The isotope will travel through your bloodstream and a short time later, your kidneys will be ready to be scanned
  • Several images are taken. The total scan may take 30 to 60 minutes. 

After the scan


  • You may be asked to drink plenty of fluids and urinate frequently to help excrete the radioactive material from the body.
  • For the next 24 hours you should wash your hands thoroughly after you urinate. You will be excreting the isotopes through your urine.
  • It is also a good idea for the next 24 hours to flush the toilet twice after you urinate.