Renal scan

What is this test?

This test tells your doctor how your kidney and urinary tract are working.

Your appointment

If you make any changes to your insurance before your appointment please call registration at 1-866-309-0832. This will help to lessen delays and the need to reschedule your test, as many radiology services need a pre-authorization.

Take Elevator H or I to level 3 Nuclear Medicine Center. It is between elevators H and I.

Please call Nuclear Medicine at 1-319-356-1911 if you:

  • Have questions
  • Cannot keep your appointment
  • Cannot do the prep listed below or think you may be pregnant
    • You may not be able to have the test, or it may need to be rescheduled

Getting ready for your test

Before your test, tell your doctor or nurse if:

  • You are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding.


  • You may eat or drink before and during your test.
    • Be sure to drink a lot of fluids before your test.
  • If you have any other test today where you are told not to eat or drink for a longer amount of time, follow those instructions.


Take all your normal medications before your test.

What to expect

This test will take about two hours.

  1. During the test, we will give you a radioactive medicine into your vein through an intravenous catheter (IV). This medicine will go to your bones. The level of radioactivity is very low and does not have side effects.
    • One hour before the test, children need to go to Stead Family Children's Hospital Lowe Level 2 to have an IV placed. Do this before going to Nuclear Medicine.
  2. Your pictures are taken by a special machine called a gamma camera. It will take one to two hours to take all the pictures that are needed. The camera:
    • Does not emit any radiation.
    • Will be close to your body while the pictures are taken. 
    • It does not hurt.

Be sure to drink a lot of fluids after your test. This will help flush out medicine you were given for the scan.

Last reviewed: 
August 2018

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