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What is a DMSA scan?

A DMSA scan evaluates the size, shape and position of the kidneys. It is also used to detect any scarring in the kidneys caused by frequent infections.

This exam requires the use of a radiopharmaceutical through an IV catheter.

Prior to the exam:

This test does not permit any movement. Your child will need to hold still for about an hour. You may want to practice with your child.

We have a large variety of video entertainment to choose from, however, your child can also bring along his/her favorite DVD to watch during the exam.

Note: Parents/guardians will be allowed to accompany their child into the exam room. Please make other arrangements for siblings.

When you arrive:

You must check in to Imaging Registration, on the first floor of the Benjamin Russell Building 45 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment in order to register.

Once the registration process is completed, a technologist will greet you and escort you to the nuclear medicine examination room.

During the exam:

A technologist will place an IV in your child’s arm, hand or foot in order to administer the radiopharmaceutical (tracer) injection needed for this exam. Your child will only feel a little discomfort, like a mild pinch. Once the child has proper IV access, the procedure can begin.

The technologist will inject the tracer through the IV line.

Your child is then allowed to take a break. During the break, you and your child may leave the Nuclear Medicine department if you wish. The technologist will tell you what time you need to return to the department for the imaging portion of the test.

The set of delayed images will begin anywhere from 3 to 4 hours after the tracer is given.

Upon return your child will be placed on the table, on their back, with the camera beneath them. Five pictures will be taken, lasting 10 minutes each. Your child must lie absolutely still. After viewing the initial images, the nuclear medicine physician may determine that additional images are needed.

After the exam:

There are no special instructions for your child to follow upon completion of this procedure.

Test Results:

The images from your child's exam are interpreted by a pediatric radiologist and a report is sent to your physician's office.

If your physician has any questions regarding the report, he/she may call 205-638-9730. 

Question or concern about your child’s exam?