This test uses sound waves to study the urinary system. The urinary system includes the kidneys, bladder, and ureters. Ureters are the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder.
Reasons for Test
The test is done to look for:
- Changes in the kidneys, bladder, and ureters
- Changes in kidney size or structure
- Kidney stone—cyst, mass, or other obstruction in the kidney
- Stones in the urinary tract
- Changes in the ureters
The test is also done to look at:
- Kidneys before doing a renal biopsy, which removes tissue from the kidney for examination
- Blood flow to the kidneys using a Doppler ultrasound
Urinary System with Stones
There are no complications associated with this test.
What to Expect
Prior to Test
- Your doctor may do a physical exam.
- You must have a full bladder for the test. Do not empty your bladder until after the ultrasound.
Description of Test
You will lie on a table. A gel will be put on your belly over your bladder and kidneys. The gel helps the sound waves travel between the machine and your body.
The ultrasound machine has a hand-held instrument called a transducer. It looks like a microphone or wand. The transducer is pushed against your skin where the gel was applied. The transducer sends sound waves into your body. The waves bounce off your internal organs and echo back to the transducer. The echoes are converted into images that are shown on a screen. The images are examined. A photograph of them may be made.
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if you have any questions about the test, your condition, or your test results.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
National Kidney Foundation
The Kidney Foundation of Canada
Imaging of the urinary tract. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at: http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/KUDiseases/pubs/imagingut/index.aspx. Updated May 24, 2012. Accessed August 31, 2015.
Nephrolithiasis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 17, 2015. Accessed August 31, 2015.
Last reviewed August 2015 by Adrienne Carmack, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.