There are various renal scans that can be performed. These include procedures to assess differential function, renal scarring/impairment, renal artery stenosis or glomerular filtration rates (GFR)

Before your Scan

Before the scan you may be asked to change into an examination gown for your comfort, and to ensure clothing does not affect the images and diagnostic quality of the scan. You may also be asked to remove jewellery, eye-glasses and any metal objects that might interfere with the images.

Our staff will ask you what regular medications you are taking. Medication history is required as some may influence the result/interpretation of the tests.

It is recommended you drink 500ml – 1 L of water in the 1-2 hours prior to starting the test (well hydrated patients required to properly assess kidney function). You can empty your bladder as needed but final voiding is done immediately before the scan in the department. No restrictions on eating.

You will then have an injection of a radiopharmaceutical into a vein in your arm and lie on a bed with a Gamma camera placed near the body for imaging.

You may be given a diuretic ‘lasix’ if an obstruction is suspected and is done in conjunction with a renal perfusion scan.

If there is a possibility of pregnancy, we prefer to delay the test unless it is necessary. Only clinically urgent scans assessed by your referring doctor and our specialised Nuclear Medicine doctors will go ahead.

Some tests may need to be changed if you are breastfeeding or you may need to avoid breastfeeding for up to 1 hour after the test. Please tell us when you make your booking, and we will discuss this with you.


The time it takes to do the scan will vary, depending on what type of renal scan you are having done as they range from 30 minutes to 4 hours.

Risks / Side effects

Side effects from radiopharmaceuticals such as nausea, vomiting or a rash are very uncommon, occurring in approximately 1 in 10,000 people.

Other Information

If a diuretic (Lasix) has been given you should keep drinking fluids for at least 2 hours after your scan to prevent dehydration.

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