What is it?

A renal cortex scan is also known as a DSMA renal scan. The scan examines the functioning tissue of the kidneys for abnormalities such as scarring and infection. The test also measures the how well each of the kidneys are working.


What do I need to do before the procedure?

Make sure you remember to bring any previous films or reports to the appointment. Wear warm comfortable clothing. You will also need to:

  • Medications - take your medications as normal
  • Advise of pregnancy or breastfeeding - let the service know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding


What will happen?

You will receive a small injection of a radioactive tracer into a vein. It takes about three hours for the tracer to circulate in your body. During this time, you can go and do other things. When you return, pictures of the kidneys are taken using a special camera for about 45 - 60 minutes. During the scan you must lay very still and breathe normally.


What can I expect after?

There are no after-effects from having a renal scan. The small dose of radiation in the injection is about the same as you would get from a back X-ray.

Once it is finished, you can go home. You are able to drive immediately after the test. Your results will be sent to your GP or specialist.