A renal ultrasound is a safe and painless test that uses sound waves to make images of the kidneys and their related structures (ureters and bladder). During the examination, a small hand-held probe is gently applied to the skin in the area where the kidneys and other organs are located. The ultrasound machine sends sound waves into the kidney area and images are recorded on a computer. The black-and-white images show the internal structure of the kidneys and related organs so your doctor can determine if there is a structural problem.
A renal ultrasound can be an important test to diagnose a problem in your kidneys. Doctors order renal ultrasounds when there's a concern about certain types of kidney or bladder problems. Renal ultrasound tests can show:
Dr. Anthony Poindexter is a certified ultrasonographer and performs kidney ultrasounds in our office. He has incorporated this skill to care for a multitude of patients with kidney stones, cysts, and other forms of kidney pathology.
Usually, you don't have to do anything special to prepare for a renal ultrasound. There is no special preparation if only the kidneys are going to be evaluated. Sometimes a renal ultrasound needs a patient to have a full bladder; in this case, the doctor will give specific instructions on how to prepare.