How is Kidney (Renal) Trauma Diagnosed?

A simple dipstick urine test can detect microscopic hematuria.

When kidney injury is suspected, it’s vital to do imaging studies of both kidneys. These will confirm the diagnosis and tell how bad the injury is.

Computerized Tomography

A computerized tomography (CT) scan with intravenous (IV) contrast (a special dye) is the best way to assess kidney injury. A CT scan takes many x-ray images that are put together to show “slices” of parts of the body. Injuries can be seen more clearly as the contrast dye flows through the blood and kidney.


Ultrasound can also be used to diagnose kidney trauma. Ultrasound uses sound waves bouncing off structures in your body to create images. But it may not show the best details of the injury.

Intravenous Pyelogram

Intravenous pyelogram (IVP) uses x-rays to show how dye moves through your urinary system. IVP can show how the kidneys are working. The dye is injected into a vein in your arm.