Today, kidney tumors and lesions are routinely discovered earlier. DMSA (dimercaptosuccinic acid) is a renal scan that uses small amounts of radioactive material (radio nucleotide) to assess the renal function, to receive information about the size, shape and position of the kidneys, and to detect scars on the kidney, or other defects. Convenience and simplicity are the main advantages of this method.
To get the image of the kidneys, radiolabeled DMSA is administered to a patient intravenously. The acid goes directly to the kidneys. A few hours after the radioisotope has been injected, the patient is taken to a special room where the scanning procedure is carried out over a 30-60 minute period, using a highly sensitive devise, called a gamma camera. The patient receives a very minimal exposure to radiation, which can be easily calculated. Experts believe that the low doses of radiation received by a patient during the procedure, do not lead to negative consequences for a patient of any age, including young children. This small dose, however, is sufficient to make the images clear and understandable for specialists. The specialist can read high quality images in only a few minutes. Images are the only way to get a precise picture of the organ and confirm the diagnosis.
Some of the benefits of DMSA kidney scans are that they are secure, reliable, and painless. Moreover, they have no side effects, and require no pre-hospitalization or the patient’s preparation for the procedure. DMSA kidney scans are often used to diagnose renal pathologies in children of all ages, from infancy through teens. Thus, this method is valuable for diagnosing pediatric kidney diseases. During the procedure, the parents can stay with their child. Besides, during the waiting period after the injection of the radioactive substance, the child can play, read, draw or be entertained, including active games.
It has been proven that DMSA kidney scans are one of the most effective and advanced technologies to diagnose various renal pathologies and diseases. For example, DMSA scans can be used to identify various defects and renal scarring with 35% greater accuracy than ultrasound. In cases, when the changes in a kidney with pyelonephritis should be assessed, the analysis via a DMSA scan is more effective than that of ultrasound, 55% versus 38%. The same study has proven that the changes in renal parenchyma using DMSA scans are effective in 46% of cases with a low degree of change, and in 76% of cases with a high degree of change, compared with the efficiency of the ultrasound analysis, which is 25% and 65% respectively.