What You Need to Know About Renal Ultrasound

What is renal ultrasound

Renal ultrasound involves using an ultrasound machine that generates images of organs through sound waves. The sound waves are inaudible and cannot be felt by the person having the ultrasound. The ultrasound is conducted to detect abdominal infections. They could be performed on children to investigate development since the prenatal period. Renal ultrasound is useful for examining liver, kidneys and other organs that are visible throughout the examination.

It is performed to investigate developmental setback, cysts, kidney stones, urinary tract infection, and injuries to the kidney.  Further information can be found here

How it’s done

Renal ultrasound is performed with a transducer that transforms electrical energy from ultrasound machine computer into sound waves. With the help of a gel, the transducer slides smoothly across the abdomen. The transducer, with mild pressure, is moved across the skin to investigate different organs. It receives sound waves from the body, which are then converted into electrical energy and examined through the ultrasound machine. The machine generates images of internal body organs through the video screen.

During the examination, you may be asked to roll in different positions, hold and release breath and take clear liquids prior to examination so that the organs could be seen properly. You need to take sufficient water to fill the bladder for clear results. If the pictures are not clear enough, you would be asked to drink more liquids. It’s better to drink water or home-made fresh juices. Bubbly, carbonated drinks should be avoided. The bladder would be pictured first, followed by the kidneys.

The time taken to perform the ultrasound varies according to age and degree of cooperation of the person undergoing the examination. If you have had sufficient water, the ultrasound can be done within 20 minutes, otherwise, it takes longer when you need to take in more liquid.

What happens after the ultrasound

The ultrasound does not have any side effects since ultrasound waves cannot be felt by the human body. The gel is transparent and does not leave any marks or stains on your skin and clothes. You would feel the same just like you did prior to examination and can carry on with every activity. There are no medical reasons to stop doing your activities after the ultrasound.

There are no risks involved with ultrasound procedure. The machine may not generate clear results if the person is unable to hold bladder for long. This could also happen when there is gas in the abdomen. Without clear results, the may not be able to get required information to interpret results. There may be insufficient information to detect symptoms and need for other tests.

The person undergoing the examination does not need to be anesthetized. Research conducted so far has not demonstrated harmful after-effects of ultrasound.

Who does it

A radiographer, also known as medical imaging technologist (MIT), receives special training in conducting ultrasound.  The doctor performing ultrasound examination is called sonologist. The sonographer evaluates images under supervision of the radiologist. The radiologist interprets the results and reports to other medical specialists.

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