Banner image

Voiding cystourethrogram

Cystourethrogram - voiding

Find

Learn More

Definition

A voiding cystourethrogram is an x-ray study of the bladder and urethra. It is done while the bladder is emptying.

How the Test is Performed

The test is performed in a hospital radiology department or in a health care provider's office.

You will lie on your back on the x-ray table. A thin, flexible tube called a catheter will be inserted into the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body) and passed into the bladder.

Contrast dye flows through the catheter into the bladder. This dye helps the bladder show up better on x-ray images.

The x-rays are taken from various angles while the bladder is full of contrast dye. The catheter is removed so that you can urinate. Images are taken while you empty your bladder.

How the Test will Feel

You may feel some discomfort when the catheter is placed and while your bladder is full.

How to Prepare for the Test

You must sign a consent form. You will be given a gown to wear.

Remove all jewelry before the test. Inform the provider if you are:

  • Allergic to any medicines
  • Allergic to x-ray contrast material
  • Pregnant

Normal Results

The bladder and urethra will be normal in size and function.

Risks

You may have some discomfort when urinating after this test because of irritation from the catheter.

You may have bladder spasms after this test, which may be a sign of an allergic reaction to the contrast dye. Contact your provider if bothersome bladder spasms occur.

You may see blood in your urine for a couple of days after this test.

What Abnormal Results Mean

Abnormal results may indicate the following:

Why the Test is Performed

This test may be done to diagnose the cause of urinary tract infections, especially in children who have had more than one urinary tract or bladder infection.

It is also used to diagnose and evaluate:

  • Difficulty emptying the bladder
  • Birth defects with the bladder or urethra
  • Narrowing of the tube that carries urine out of the bladder (urethral stricture) in males
  • Urinary reflux from the bladder up into the kidney

Review Date: 1/30/2017
Reviewed By: Jennifer Sobol, DO, urologist with the Michigan Institute of Urology, West Bloomfield, MI. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

ADAM QualityA.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch).

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 9-1-1 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only—they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.