Importantly, MRI scans do not use radiation (unlike X-Rays and CT scans), nor do they need injections of dye (contrast) sometimes needed for other types of scan. This means that MRI scans are completely safe and can be repeated to see whether patients are improving in response to treatment or not.
MRI can show the entire kidney in great detail and there is a range of MRI techniques that can assess different aspects of kidney function. Combining several different MRI techniques into a single scan session is called multiparametric MRI. Multiparametric MRI can assess processes that influence or cause kidney disease, such as changes in blood flow, oxygen levels and the degree of scarring (fibrosis). These are summarised in the image shown below.