The 99mtechnetium-dimercapto-succinic acid renal scan has become the gold standard for evaluating renal parenchymal pathology. The traditional pinhole technique provides 2-dimensional imaging. Recent application of high resolution single photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) has provided the means to obtain even greater cortical detail. With 360-degree imaging and computer reconstruction, SPECT provides coronal, sagittal and transaxial imaging. We prospectively compared the SPECT and pinhole techniques in 33 patients (65 renal units) ranging in age from 2.5 months to 18 years. Both scans were obtained in all patients. All scans were reviewed by an independent interpreter. Using SPECT imaging, diagnostic information was enhanced in 46 of the 65 kidneys (71%). Of the 24 kidneys that appeared "normal" by pinhole imaging 15 (63%) had defects on SPECT imaging. High resolution SPECT imaging improves the ability to identify cortical defects and visualize asymmetry of cortical thickness compared to standard pinhole imaging.