A renal/urinary tract ultrasound is used to assess your kidneys and bladder. Other pelvic structures may be assessed during this scan, such as the prostate in men.

A renal ultrasound is used to investigate: causes of pain; kidney stones; hematuria; poor kidney function; trauma; urinary tract infections; incontinence; and other changes in bladder function. A device called a transducer is placed on your abdomen to get images of your internal organs and structures.


Your examination will be performed by a sonographer who will introduce themselves, confirm your identity and the procedure you are having. First, a clear gel is applied to the skin on the area to be examined. The ultrasound probe is then moved over the skin surface to look at the structures below. During the ultrasound, you will be asked to hold your breath and move into certain positions to allow a clear view of your organs. Generally, your bladder is looked at first, and then you will be asked to empty it to make the remainder of examination comfortable.

The images are looked at by a radiologist who will provide a written report for your doctor. The radiologists may sometimes speak to you in person during your examination.

Before your Scan

It is necessary to have a full bladder for the ultrasound. Drink one litre of water finishing one hour before your appointment and do not empty your bladder (do not go to the toilet). Distension (expansion) of your bladder provides a clearer view of the bladder and surrounding structures. If you are feeling overly full and it is causing you pain or distress, please tell reception staff on arrival who will talk to you about your options.

Children or patients with issues of urinary retention (holding on) should tell our staff at the time of booking the appointment as your fluid intake may be reduced.

If possible, wear clothing that allows easy access to the abdomen, such as two-piece clothing (separate upper/lower garments).


Approximately 30 minutes.

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