Renal Ultrasounds: A Look Inside the Kidneys

Ultrasounds are used for a number of medical purposes. Since they utilize sound waves instead of radiation to create an image from inside the human body, they are safer to perform and are frequently used by OBY/GYN doctors to check the development of fetuses inside the womb during pregnancy.

This is good news when it comes to potential problems with kidneys. Instead of performing an operation to actually see inside a patient, the doctors at Peninsula Kidney Associates can use what is known as a renal ultrasound to virtually peek inside the kidney without further damaging them or cutting the patient open.

Why would someone need a renal ultrasound?
A renal ultrasound may be used in the event that a patient is experiencing pain, swelling or other abnormalities in the area where the kidneys are located. Renal ultrasounds can be used to determine the size of the kidneys, check for signs of injury or damage, find abnormalities that may have been present since birth, or find blockages created by kidney stones, cysts or tumors. They can also assist in doing a biopsy if necessary, or to check on the results of a treatment plan.

The procedure is simple and completely painless (unless being used as a guide for a biopsy, but even then the pain is minimal). The technician performing the procedure (called a sonographer), will spread a clear gel on the area to be scanned, then will use a wand (called a transducer) to move it over the area being examined. The transducer emits high-frequency sound waves that a computer uses to measure when the waves bounce back from inside the body. The computer then uses this information to create an image.

If your doctor requests a renal ultrasound, rest assured it’s easy and safe. He or she will inform you on how to prepare for it as far as not eating or drinking before the procedure, etc. and the procedure itself usually takes less than 30 minutes. What could be easier?