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What is the purpose of a kidney ultrasound?

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Quick Answer

A kidney ultrasound may be done for many reasons, including assessing the kidneys for basic features, detecting abnormalities, assisting in the performance of procedures and evaluating a transplanted kidney, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Kidney-associated structures, such as the bladder and ureters, are also studied using this ultrasound.

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Full Answer

Physicians often use ultrasound to evaluate the location, size and shape of the kidneys and related parts. The ultrasound can detect many abnormalities, including tumors, cysts, obstructions and abscesses. The procedure can also reveal fluid collection and infection in or around the kidneys, as well as stones of the kidney or ureters, says Johns Hopkins Medicine.

A kidney ultrasound can help with the performance of surgical procedures in a several different ways, as stated by Johns Hopkins Medicine. These include assisting in the placement of needles for performing kidney biopsies or draining cysts or abscesses, as well as helping with placement of a drainage tube.

A physician may have other reasons for recommending a kidney ultrasound, notes Johns Hopkins Medicine. The procedure does not involve the use of any radiation, and there is generally no pain caused by the application of the ultrasound's wand to the skin. Depending on the patient's individual medical situation, however, there may be some risk associated with the procedure.

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