This test uses sound waves to study the renal system. The renal system includes the kidneys, bladder, and ureters (the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder).
The test is done to look for:
- Changes in the bladder wall
- Changes in kidney size or structure
- Kidney stone, cyst, mass, or other obstruction in the kidney
- Stones in the urinary tract
- Changes in the ureters
The test is also done to look at:
Kidneys before doing a renal
(removal of tissue from the kidney for exam)
Blood flow to the kidneys (a
Urinary System with Stones
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
There are no major complications associated with this test.
- Your doctor may do a physical exam.
- You must have a full bladder for the test. Do not empty your bladder until after the ultrasound.
You will lie on a table. Your doctor will put a gel on your belly over your bladder and kidneys. The gel helps the sound waves travel between the machine and your body.
The ultrasound machine has a hand-held instrument called a transducer. It looks like a microphone or wand. The transducer is pushed against your skin where the gel was applied. The transducer sends sound waves into your body. The waves bounce off your internal organs and echo back to the transducer. The echoes are converted into images that are shown on a screen. The doctor examines the images. He may make a photograph of them.
The gel will be wiped from your belly.
A radiologist will look at the images to make sure everything appears normal.
However, your doctor or radiologist might detect problems with your organs. He or she could also see blockage in the tubes. In this case, more tests may be done to find the exact problem and cause. Your doctor may also decide that the renal ultrasound provides enough information to make up a treatment plan for you.
Call your doctor if you have any questions about the test, your condition, or your test results.
Imaging of the urinary tract. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at:
. Published November 2006. Accessed October 20, 2009.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Adrienne Carmack, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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