ZocdocAnswersHow does a renal ultrasound work?

Question

How does a renal ultrasound work?

I'm having these strange urine problems and the doctor want me to take a renal ultrasound test. What will this involve? I really have a problem with things being inserted into me and would avoid that at all costs if possible.

Answer

Renal ultrasound is a common procedure. It is an important test to diagnose problems with the kidneys and urinary system. I strongly encourage you to talk to your doctor to further understand this test and the risks and benefits of it. In general, the renal ultrasound is a very easy test. Luckily, it does not (normally) involve things being inserted. There are variations of the ultrasound test, but the basic one requires no injections or insertions. Ultrasound is an imaging modality that uses sound waves. Essentially, the sounds waves are sent into the body by a small handheld probe. These waves are not audible (you can't hear them). The body and its different tissues will reflect or absorb the sound waves depending on the composition of the tissue. The same probe that sends the sound waves also catches the reflected waves. This allows for the computer to make a picture of what type of tissue is present. In the renal ultrasound, the probe is placed on the back and the stomach to look at the kidneys and the vessels that feed it. Similar ultrasounds are done in pregnant women to look at babies. It is a painless (besides the probe on your skin) and safe (safe enough for babies!). Good Luck!

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