NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Kidney Cancer, Version 1.2017
An MRI (
maging) scan uses
radio waves and powerful magnets to take pictures of
the inside of the body. It does not use x-rays. An MRI
scan is good at showing the spine and soft tissues
like the kidneys and brain. It is also very useful for
looking at blood vessels.
You may not be able to have a CT scan with contrast
if you have an allergy to it or if your kidneys aren’t
working well. In such cases, an MRI scan of your
abdomen may be used instead to check for a tumor
in your kidneys. For an MRI scan, a contrast dye may
still be used to make the pictures clearer. MRI scans
use a different kind of contrast dye than CT scans.
But, the contrast dye may not be given if your kidney
function is below a certain level. In people with very
poor kidney function, MRI contrast can cause a rare,
but serious condition called nephrogenic systemic
Getting an MRI scan is similar to getting a CT scan.
But, MRI scans take longer to complete. The full
exam often lasts an hour or more. For the scan, you
will need to lie on a table that moves through a large
tunnel in the scanning machine. The scan may cause
your body to feel a bit warm. Like a CT scan, you
may not learn of the MRI scan results for a few days
since a radiologist needs to see the pictures.
An ultrasound uses
sound waves to
make pictures of the
inside of the body.
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