A renal ultrasound is a safe and noninvasive test that is used to create images of the ureters, bladder and kidney through the use of sound waves. Ideally, it is used to determine the size, condition and shapes of these internal body parts thus eliminating the use of a surgical operation. It allows clear visualization of the internal structures from outside the body.
A renal ultrasound is conducted when there are concerns about a problem in the kidney, ureters or the bladder. The procedure helps show injuries, abnormalities, kidney stones or blockages, tumors or cysts, size of the internal parts and problems caused by urinary tract infections. A piece of equipment called a transducer is used to send sound waves through the skin and other parts. The sound waves move faster through bone tissues than through the air. The sound waves are returned back to the transducer, where they are converted into images.
Before the procedure, clear gel is applied to the skin to allow the transducer to move smoothly and to eliminate air between the skin and the transducer. There are no specific preparations that a person needs to do before the test. However, children may be required to fast for several hours prior to a renal ultrasound.