What is Kidney MRI?
A kidney MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or a renal MRI is a painless radiology exam. This is performed to examine the kidneys and its surrounding areas in a non-invasive manner. In this scan, multiple images of the blood vessels and soft tissues of the kidneys are generated using radio waves and a strong magnetic field.
The kidney MRI helps doctors in detecting diseases and abnormalities in the kidneys such as kidney (renal) lesions and cysts, kidney cancer (renal cancer), and kidney infection (pyelonephritis).
The MRI of the kidney may be done with or without the use of contrast material (dye) that is injected into the veins. When the contrast material is used, the blood vessels are seen more clearly in the scanned images.
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Who Should Get a Kidney MRI?
Your doctor may recommend a kidney MRI if you have one or more of the following symptoms or ailments:
- Blood in the urine (Hematuria)
- Foamy or bubbly urine
- Changes in urinary habits
- Chest pain
- Fatigue and weakness
- High blood pressure
- Muscle cramps and twitches
- Pain or tenderness between the ribs and pelvis
- Severe itching
- Shortness of breath
- Sleep problems
- Swelling of ankles and feet
What is the Purpose of a Kidney MRI?
Your doctor may recommend an MRI of the kidney to:
- Evaluate unusual pain between the ribs and pelvis with uncommon symptoms.
- Evaluate the structure and function of the kidneys.
- Evaluate the damage to the kidneys, especially in alcoholic people.
- Diagnose various kidney disorders such as Acute Kidney Injury (a condition in which the kidneys suddenly stop filtering waste from the blood) and kidney failure.
- Diagnose chronic kidney disease (CKD).
- Detect cancer of the kidneys.
Your doctor may also ask you to take the Kidney Ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis for abnormalities in the kidneys. Your doctor may also recommend a Kidney Function test to evaluate and monitor your kidney functioning. Depending on the results, your doctor will confirm the diagnosis and plan your treatment.
How Is a Kidney MRI Performed?
- Before starting the MRI of the kidney, you will have to remove all the metal objects on your body, including eyeglasses, jewelry, hairpins, and dentures.
- A technologist will ask you to lie still on the MRI scanner table, which will move slowly through a doughnut-shaped MRI machine.
- Once you are inside the MRI machine, multiple images of your abdomen region will be taken that will be displayed on a monitor.
- During the scan, the technologist will ask you to hold your breath for 10 to 12 seconds at certain points. Make sure you don’t move during the scan as any movement can blur the images.
In case your doctor has asked you to take a kidney MRI with contrast, then contrast dye will be injected into your vein shortly after an initial series of scans. Additional images will be taken following the injection.
How Long Does a Kidney MRI Take?
An MRI of the kidney is usually completed between 30 to 60 minutes.
Is Radiation Involved in a Kidney MRI?
No. An MRI is a painless imaging test that doesn’t use radiation
Are There Any Risks in Taking a Kidney MRI?
- People who have implants such as a cardiac pacemaker, coronary stent, orthopedic rods, and plates, which contain metal, may face certain risks. The magnets used in an MRI can make implanted pins or screws move in the body or cause problems with pacemakers.
- Some people might also have an allergic reaction to the contrast dye used in an MRI.
When Will I Receive My Results?
Once the kidney MRI is completed, you will receive your results within 3-5 business days in your LabFinder portal.
How Should I Prepare for a Kidney MRI?
Please refer to the simple preparation guidelines given below or consult with your doctor or radiology center where you are being treated. Do not forget to bring your LabFinder Order and Insurance Card to your appointment.