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A VCUG (voiding cystourethrogram) produces images of the urinary tract. The test shows how the urinary tract is working.
Doctors request this test for patients who have repeated urinary tract infections or other related problems.
VCUG uses a technology called fluoroscopy. Fluoroscopy is sometimes described as a “live” x-ray. It shows how internal organs function inside the body.
A VCUG can show if your child 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 also shows abnormalities or blockages in the urethra.
A VCUG can show if a patient has vesicoureteral (VU) reflex. It also shows are abnormalities or blockages in the urethra.
A radiologist and a radiological technologist perform the test. Other staff members may help.
The test usually takes about 30 minutes.
A VCUG is a type of x-ray. This means it uses a small amount of ionizing radiation. The radiation helps 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. If you have concerns or questions, talk with your child’s care team.
Taking these steps before the test may make your experience easier.
Situations and centers differ, but these tips can help you get ready:
Here’s what you and your child can expect at the testing center before and during a VCUG:
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. This is because they are used to going to the bathroom in private. Remind your child that the staff is experienced at performing this test. It is a necessary medical procedure, so they don’t need to feel embarrassed.
You may be able to stay in the room with the patient. Also, you can ask for a child life specialist to be there during the test.
Your child may experience discomfort during urination after the procedure. This feeling usually gets better in less than 12 hours.
The radiologist will interpret the results. Then, they’ll send them to the doctor who ordered the VCUG. Your child’s care team will review the results with you at the next appointment.
Reviewed: October 2021