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MAG3 renogram

MAG3 scan

An examination that looks at the drainage of urine from the kidneys to the bladder and can detect reflux or obstruction

About

An MAG3 renogram involves injecting a radioactive tracer into a vein in the body, enabling detailed images of the drainage of urine to be captured with a gamma camera. We use it to assess kidney function and detect reflux and obstruction, even in people who have had a kidney transplant.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    You will lie on an imaging couch with the gamma camera positioned below you. A radioactive liquid or tracer (MAG3) will be injected into a vein to highlight the part of your renal system we need to investigate. The risk of radiation is low as the amount used is small.

    The scan will start immediately and take about 25‒40 minutes; during which it is important that you remain still.

    You will then be asked to empty your bladder. When you return, another image will be taken, for one minute. This is to demonstrate how well your bladder empties.

    Sometimes further images may be needed after 30 minutes, so allow around two hours for your appointment.

     
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Please take your medication as per normal, but tell your consultant before the scan if you are taking diuretics (water tablets), such as furosemide.

    Women should not have this scan if you're pregnant, think you may be pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

    If you are diabetic, you don't need to change your diet or treatment.
    On the morning of your scan, you will need to drink fluid. However, there's no need for a full bladder.

    Sometimes before the scan we may need to give you a diuretic (via injection) to maximise your kidney function. This means you may need to empty your bladder more frequently. We allow 15 minutes for this to work, then start your scan.

  • Afterwards icon plus

    After your scan, you can continue with your normal daily activities, and eat and drink as usual.

    There are no side effects from an MAG3 renogram as the radioactive substance we give you will not make you sleepy or stop you from driving a car.

    Please try to avoid long periods of close contact with small children, babies and pregnant women for the rest of the day, to avoid exposing them to unnecessary radiation. The radioactivity in your body will soon disappear.

    Your results will be sent to your consultant who requested the test, who will then arrange for a follow-up appointment with you to discuss the findings.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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