What is the preparation for the kidney ultrasound?

The preparation for this test will depend on the type of ultrasound procedure your doctor has ordered. Some preparations include drinking a quart of water before the test to obtain better images. Other preparations may include eating a fat-free dinner the night before the test, or possibly fasting. The doctor, nurse, or receptionist will give you complete instructions prior to the exam.

What happens of on the day of the kidney ultrasound?

You may eat or drink as normal the day of the exam. Your doctor may need a post void of the bladder which will require you to drink 30 ounces of water an hour before the exam and not use the restroom until after.

Your ultrasound test will be performed by a registered, specially trained, technologist and interpreted by a board-certified radiologist.

What happens during the kidney ultrasound?

You will lie on a padded examining table. A warm, water-soluble gel is applied to the skin over the area to be examined. The gel does not harm your skin or stain your clothes. A probe is gently applied against the skin. You may be asked to hold your breath several times or roll on your side.

The ultrasound will take about 20-30 minutes to complete.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/01/2014.


  • American College of Radiology. Radiological Society of North America via radiologyinfo.org. Ultrasound-General Accessed 4/22/2015.
  • Lam AQ, Seifter JL. Chapter 57. Assessment and Evaluation of the Renal Patient. In: McKean SC, Ross JJ, Dressler DD, Brotman DJ, Ginsberg JS. eds. Principles and Practice of Hospital Medicine. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2012. library.ccf.org Accessed 4/22/2015.

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