What preparation is needed for a renal/ prostate ultrasound?
For best results, you need to have not eaten anything for 6 hours before your appointment and you need a full bladder. It’s a good idea to book your renal ultrasound in the morning so you don’t have breakfast but drink water to fill your bladder. One hour before your appointment time, empty your bladder then drink 750mL of water and hold on. You need to finish drinking this water 45 minutes before your appointment time. If you feel desperately that you need to go to the bathroom, you can go and release a small amount of urine so you are more comfortable. But don’t empty your bladder completely!
Why does my bladder need to be full?
The bladder is like a water balloon – when it’s empty, the wall is scrunched up but when it’s full, the wall is distended and easy to see. In order for the sonographer to examine the wall of your bladder properly, it needs to full.
In addition to this, if you’re male and still have your prostate, it sits behind your bladder. When your bladder is full, the sound energy of the ultrasound travels easily through your bladder and allows the sonographer to see your prostate.
Your doctor may also wish to know about the volume you can hold in there and how much is left once you’ve emptied.
What do you look at in a renal ultrasound?
A Renal Ultrasound looks at the urinary system. The sonographer will need to see your bladder full and then empty then she will look at your kidneys. If you’re male and still have your prostate, this will be measured. If you’re female, a cursory scan through your pelvic organs will be done to look for any obvious pathology.
What will happen during the exam?
If you have prepared correctly, your bladder will be full and the sonographer can start there. You will need to lie on the ultrasound table and expose your abdomen. The sonographer will tuck paper towel into your trousers and put gel on the skin of your lower abdomen. She will glide a transducer over your skin to look at your anatomy from different angles and acquire the necessary images. You will then be asked to go to the bathroom and empty your bladder. After emptying, more images of your bladder will be taken. The sonographer will then look at your kidneys.
What happens after the exam?
The sonographer will tell you any significant findings from the exam. She will write a report and that will be emailed to you and your referring doctor within 24 hours.
How long does a renal/ prostate ultrasound take?
The appointment will take approximately 20 minutes but you won’t need to hold on to a full bladder the entire time. A full bladder is only required for a few minutes at the beginning of the scan.