A kidney examination involves the use of a nuclear scan to examine your kidneys and evaluate their function. A kidney scan is also known as a nuclear nephrography or a nuclear scan of the kidneys. Through the “check-in yourself” series, we learn about the atomic scan of the kidneys and when the doctor orders it, according to the website Health line .
Other forms of renal imaging include CT scans, X-rays, ultrasounds, and MRIs.
During atomic kidney scans, a technician injects a radioactive substance called a radioisotope into a vein. The radioactive isotopes release gamma rays. A gamma camera or scanner can detect gamma rays from outside your body.
A gamma camera scans the area of the kidneys, tracks the radioactive isotopes and measures how the kidneys process them. The camera also works with a computer to create images of the kidneys.
These images detail the structure and function of the kidneys based on how they interact with radioactive isotopes.
Pictures from a kidney exam can show structural and functional abnormalities. This helps doctors diagnose a kidney problem in its early stages without the need for techniques or surgery.
Why do you need atomic scanning of the kidneys?
The atomic kidney scan identifies problems with kidney function. The kidneys perform several functions:
Removal of urea or liquid waste from the blood by producing urine
Maintaining the balance of chemicals, such as sodium and potassium, in the blood
Supply of the hormone erythropoietin, which supports the growth of red blood cells
Controlling blood pressure by producing the hormone renin
Providing the hormone calcitriol, which supplies calcium to the bones
The change in kidney function usually begins gradually and without symptoms.
In many cases, routine blood and urine tests, such as those done at an annual physical exam, show the first signs of poor kidney function.
A kidney exam can determine the cause of decreased kidney function. The cause may be kidney disease, blockage, or injury.
A kidney scan can detect more than one type of problem during the same procedure. A kidney scan measures kidney function by monitoring the flow of radioactive isotopes and how well the kidneys absorb and pass them.
It also shows abnormalities in the structure, size or shape of the kidneys.
Kidney scans can identify and evaluate:
Decreased blood flow to the kidneys
Renovascular hypertension, which is high blood pressure in the renal arteries
Tumors or cysts
Kidney treatments success