Nuclear medicine is a branch of medical imaging that uses small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose and determine the severity of or treat a variety of diseases, including many types of cancers, heart disease, gastrointestinal, endocrine, neurological disorders and other abnormalities within the body. Because nuclear medicine procedures are able to pinpoint molecular activity within the body, they offer the potential to identify disease in its earliest stages as well as a patient’s immediate response to therapeutic interventions.
Nuclear medicine imaging procedures are noninvasive and, with the exception of intravenous injections, are usually painless medical tests that help physicians diagnose and evaluate medical conditions. These imaging scans use radioactive materials called radiopharmaceuticals or radiotracers.
Renal scintigraphy, also known as "renal scanning" or "renal imaging," refers to several examinations using radioisotopes that evaluate the function and anatomy of the kidneys.
Renal scintigraphy is one of many imaging methods used to evaluate the kidneys. Ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), and MRI can also be used. Your doctor will determine which of these examinations will provide the best information about your kidneys.
Why should I do it ?
- Analyze native and transplant kidney function
- Detect urinary tract obstruction
- Evaluate for hypertension related to the kidney arteries
- Evaluate kidneys for infection versus scar
- Detect and follow-up urinary reflux in pediatric patients
Any preparations needed?
- Women should always inform their physician or technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant or if they are breastfeeding.
- You should inform your physician and the technologist performing your exam of any medications you are taking, including vitamins and herbal supplements. You should also inform them if you have any allergies and about recent illnesses or other medical conditions.
- Jewelry and other metallic accessories should be left at home if possible, or removed prior to the exam because they may interfere with the procedure.
- In some instances, certain medications or procedures may interfere with the examination ordered
- You may be asked to drink extra fluid or possibly receive intravenous (IV) fluids.
- You may also be given a diuretic to increase urine production. In some cases, the bladder may need to remain empty during the scan, necessitating the Insertion of a catheter. In other cases, you may be asked to go to the bathroom and empty your bladder prior to imaging.
- You also may be asked to discontinue use of some medications prior to your exam
- Tell your physician if you are taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAID).