A renal scan provides pictures of your child's kidneys to see how the kidneys are working, including size, shape, position, and urinary flow. The following information will help prepare you and your child for a Renal Scan or MAG3 Scan with or without Lasix, but does not take the place of any information given to you by your child's medical team.
Children's Mercy has been awarded accreditation in all areas of imaging technology by the American College of Radiology. This represents the highest level of image quality and radiation safety. Learn more about our approach to safety.
If you have questions or information that you would like to share before your child’s renal scan, call (816) 234-3214, option 2. Please leave a message and a Children’s Mercy staff member will call you back as soon as possible.
The renal scan process
It is best to be honest with your child. Below is information to help you learn about a renal scan and suggestions to help talk with your child about this test.
A tip for parents to help explain this step: When it is time for your pictures, we will go into a special room with a small bed and large, circle camera. The room also has some fun toys and a TV. You may need to take off your clothes and put on a hospital gown. You will be asked to go pee in the bathroom and then will lie down on the bed. There are warm blankets to cover you.
A tip for parents to help explain this step: You will meet a nurse or a person called a “tech.” This person has had special training to know how to help you with your special pictures. The tech or nurse will place a tight rubber band called a tourniquet on your arm and look at your veins (blue/green lines) in your hands and arms. Then, they will clean an area with an alcohol wipe, which is like a small, wet cloth. Next, the tech may put some numbing medicine on the area. Then, they will do a quick poke to slide a soft, flexible tube called an IV into a vein in your hand or arm. The poke part does not stay there, only the soft tube stays in your vein during your pictures. The tech will put some special water into the tube to make sure it is in the right place. The water may feel cool as it is going into the tube and your body. Once the tube is in the right place, the tech will put some special tape on the IV to help it stay in place during your pictures.
A tip for parents to help explain this step: The tech or nurse will need to clean the area where you pee from with some special brown soap that feels cold and wet. Next, they will slide a small, soft tube where you pee from and put some tape there to hold the tube in place.
A tip for parents to help explain this step: The tech will put some special medicine in your IV that will help them see your pictures better. The medicine will not hurt as it goes in through the soft tube.
Next the technologist will take pictures of your child’s kidneys for about 40 minutes. After 20 minutes of pictures, the technologist may inject Lasix into your child’s IV, which will make his or her kidneys produce more urine than usual.
A tip for parents to help explain this step: Next, the tech will take pictures of your kidneys that are in your tummy area. Nothing will touch or hurt you during your pictures. The bed will move slowly in and out of the circle camera to help get your body in the right spot for your pictures. Your job will be to hold very still while your pictures are being taken and you can even watch a movie! After about 20 minutes of taking pictures, the tech may put another kind of medicine in your IV that may make you need to pee. If you need to pee during the pictures, the tech will help you pee while you are on the bed using a small pan (for girls) or cup (for boys). The tech may place a seatbelt or blankets over you to help you hold still and keep you safe on the bed.
A tip for parents to help explain this step: Once you are done with your pictures, the tech will ask you to go pee in the bathroom and come back and lie down for one more picture.
A tip for parents to help explain this step: After the last picture, the tech will gently take off the tape covering your IV and slide the IV tube out of your hand or arm. The tech will put a bandage where the IV was.
A tip for parents to help explain this step: Then you get to change back into your clothes if you had on a hospital gown and we get to leave.
You can be in the room with your child the whole time during the renal scan to help support your child.
Be prepared to focus on your child. Please do not bring any other children.
Your child can bring comfort items from home such as a doll, stuffed animal, pacifier, blanket, tablet, phone or favorite movie.
If your child has difficulty lying still during the renal scan, he or she may be wrapped in blankets or have a seatbelt placed over his or her stomach.
Your child can eat and drink before the renal scan unless your child is getting sedation or anesthesia. If your child is getting sedation or anesthesia, the procedure process described will be different. Infants 0-5 months should not eat or drink four hours prior to the exam start.
Patients requiring anesthesia should not have any solid foods for six hours prior and no clear liquids two hours prior to arrival.
Your child should be encouraged to drink a lot of fluids (water, juice) the day before the renal scan and after the renal scan.
Your child can not have an IV contrast exam on the same day prior to the renal scan.
Many families have found the additional information provided from RadiologyInfo.org valuable as they have prepared for this type of scan.
The Image Gently Alliance may help you understanding types of imaging and what "imaging safely" means to you and your child.