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A VCUG (voiding cystourethrogram) produces images of the urinary tract and shows how it is working.
It uses a technology called fluoroscopy. Fluoroscopy is sometimes described as a “live” X-ray. It shows how internal organs function inside the body.
Doctors request the VCUG test for patients who have repeated urinary tract infections or other related problems.
A VCUG can show if the patient has a condition called vesicoureteral (VU) reflux. This condition causes urine to flow in the wrong direction, from the bladder back up to the kidneys. A VCUG can also show if there are any abnormalities or blockages in the urethra.
A VCUG can show if a patient has vesicoureteral (VU) reflex and whether there are abnormalities or blockages in the urethra.
A radiologist and a radiological technologist perform the VCUG test. Other staff members may help.
A VCUG test usually takes about 30 minutes.
A VCUG is a type of X-ray, so it uses a small amount of ionizing radiation to create images. The amount of radiation given during a VCUG is very small. The medical benefits far outweigh the small amount of radiation exposure. Families should discuss any concerns with the medical team.
Parents should make sure their child:
A VCUG test can be uncomfortable. The insertion of the catheter and filling of the bladder with liquid can cause discomfort.
A VCUG can seem embarrassing and unnatural for children and teens because they are used to going to the bathroom in private. A parent can usually stay in the room with the patient. Also, families can ask for a child life specialist to be there during the procedure.
The radiology staff is experienced at performing the test. It is a necessary medical procedure, so patients need not feel embarrassed.
Some patients have discomfort during urination after the procedure. This feeling usually gets better in less than 12 hours.
The radiologist will interpret the results of the exam and send them to the doctor who ordered the VCUG. A member of the medical team will review the results with the patient and family at the next appointment.
Reviewed: June 2018