Renal scintiscanning is a simple investigation that does not require special preparation and is well tolerated by patients. Radiopharmaceuticals used in linear scanning are accumulated in the renal cortex. This accumulation is diminished: (a) when the cortex is destroyed, e.g. by pyelonephritis, injury, etc.; and (b) when the amount available to the cortex is reduced, e.g. by ischaemia. The scintigram depicts the kidneys unimpeded by bowel contents, gives a qualitative assessment of renal function and shows the distribution of zones of normal function. Recent technical improvements show great promise in deriving a quantitative measure of renal function in some circumstances. The location of normally functioning cortex is often important in the management of renal diseases and the value of scintiscanning is then considerable. It is occasionally useful in planning surgery. The anatomy of the renal collecting system can be shown only by urography. High dose techniques achieve this even in the face of renal failure, and scintiscanning has few indications in investigating lesions that distort the renal anatomy, e.g. tumours and cysts. Renal scintiscanning is a very valuable additional method to urography, arteriography and renography in investigation of renal disorders.