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Radiographics. 2000 May-Jun;20(3):607-22.

Complications of renal transplantation: evaluation with US and radionuclide imaging.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Medical Center Blvd, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1088, USA.


Following renal transplantation, patients are often evaluated with ultrasonography (US) or radionuclide imaging to assess renal function and the presence of possible complications. Both modalities are inexpensive, noninvasive, and nonnephrotoxic. A basic understanding of the surgical techniques commonly used for renal transplantation is useful when imaging these patients in order to recognize complications and to direct further imaging or intervention. The most frequent complications of renal transplantation include perinephric fluid collections; decreased renal function; and abnormalities of the vasculature, collecting system, and renal parenchyma. Perinephric fluid collections are common following transplantation, and their clinical significance depends on the type, location, size, and growth of the fluid collection, features that are well-evaluated with US. Causes of diminished renal function include acute tubular necrosis, rejection, and toxicity from medications. Radionuclide imaging is the most useful modality for assessing renal function. Vascular complications of transplantation include occlusion or stenosis of the arterial or venous supply, arteriovenous fistulas, and pseudoaneurysms. Although the standard for evaluating these vascular complications is angiography, US is an excellent noninvasive method for screening. Other transplant complications such as abnormalities of the collecting system and renal parenchyma are well-evaluated with both radionuclide imaging and US.

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