What is a Nephrogram?

It is a diagnostic test performed in the nuclear medicine laboratory. A special radioactive drug, which has the property to be taken up and secreted by the kidneys, is administered intravenously (i.v.).  Then, a special camera is placed behind the body at the height of the renal region. This camera receives signals from the radioactive drug. The results of the test derive out of special processing conducted by a computer. The Nephrogram provides information on both the anatomy and functionality of kidneys.

When is a Nephrogram performed?

Your Urologist may order a Nephrogram:

  • when, other imaging tests (e.g. ultrasound, CT scan) have shown indications for urinary obstruction.
  • to investigate some congenital abnormalities of the urinary tract.

What preparation is needed for a Nephrogram?

No special preparation is usually needed. Given that a radioactive drug is administered for the test, you should promptly inform your physician in case of pregnancy.

How is a Nephrogram performed?

You may need to have a Nephrogram either as an outpatient or as a hospital inpatient. Your physician will explain the procedure and answer any questions related to the test you may potentially have. The procedure is as follows:

  • You will have to drink a high amount of fluids before the test.
  • A venocatheter will be placed in your arm to have radioactive drug infused.
  • You will be asked to lie on your back on a radiology table with a special camera.
  • The procedure is absolutely painless.
  • Should there be indications for urinary obstruction, you will be given a diuretic. In this way, your physician will be able to diagnose whether the origin of the problem is anatomic or functional.
  • Once the test procedure is completed, you can get dressed and leave the lab.

Following the Nephrogram, you can right away resume to your everyday activities without any restrictions.   You may be asked not to come in contact with small children for some hours, for you will be emitting radiation.

How are the results of a Nephrogram interpreted?

Should there be any abnormal finding, the physician will inform you about this. You will be given further instructions and information about therapeutic options that are appropriate for you. In case of doubts, you may be recommended to undergo more specific screening (MRI, Ureteroscopy etc).