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Voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG)

Voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG)

Written by Amber Erickson Gabbey on June 11, 2012

General information

A micturition cystourethrogram is an x-ray that is taken while emptying the bladder to evaluate the function of the bladder and urethra. Your doctor may recommend this test to diagnose the cause of recurrent urinary tract or bladder infections.

It can also be done to diagnose the following:

  • Problems with bladder emptying
  • Congenital problems with the bladder or urethra
  • Urethral narrowing or abnormalities
  • Urethral retraction into the kidneys


For In this test, the doctor will insert a catheter into the urethra and take x-rays. Tell her if you have any allergies and if you are pregnant. For the x-ray, all jewelry must be removed. The risks of a voiding cystourethrogram include the following:

Urinary tract infections Spasms in the bladder (as a consequence of X-ray contrast solution) allergic reaction to contrast medium (such as nausea, vomiting and hot flashes) pain when urinating (due to catheter) Risk of radiation exposure during x-ray cardiac arrest, shortness of breath or low blood pressure (in rare cases)

You may feel mild discomfort Because the bladder is full (with the contrast medium). In addition, you may feel pain or discomfort when you insert the catheter.

Side effects

This test can be done in the doctor's office.

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First, the catheter will be inserted, a flexible tube that is placed in the urethra and directed to the inner part of the bladder. The doctor will then inject a contrast medium into the catheter so that the urethra and bladder can be seen on the radiographs taken after the contrast medium has been inserted while the bladder is filled with this solution . Once all x-rays of the full bladder have been taken, the doctor will remove the catheter and urinate in a container so that you can take x-rays of the bladder while emptying. The full test takes approximately one hour.

Normal results indicate that the urethra and bladder are normal sizes and function correctly.

Abnormal results may indicate the following:

  • enlarged prostate
  • narrowing of the urethra
  • Bladder
  • kidney disorders

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