A VCUG is an x-ray exam that allows us to visualize your bladder and ability to empty your bladder. A catheter (a small, soft, flexible tube) will need to be placed into your bladder through the urethra (the tube that drains urine from the bladder) and a special iodinated contrast liquid that shows up well on x-rays will be introduced through the catheter in order to fill the bladder.
There is no special preparation for this exam.
Your appointment will be scheduled ahead of time by the hospital's booking office. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your exam, as you will be required to register and also visit our billing office. Please keep in mind that our hospital is a Level 1 Trauma Center and emergencies often arise beyond our control. Occasionally this may delay the start of your exam. Another thing to be aware of is that we have many x-ray rooms in our department, and certain exams may only be performed in certain rooms. The order in which you arrive in our department may not necessarily be the order in which you are taken into an exam room due to room availability.
You will be escorted into the exam room by a radiologic technologist. You will have to change into a hospital gown, and a plain x-ray film will be taken . The radiologist will enter the room and take a brief history from you so that he/she will be able to perform an accurate study for you. The first part of the test requires that your urethra (the opening that drains urine) be cleaned with an antiseptic solution prior to placing the catheter. You will feel uncomfortable when the catheter is placed into the bladder, however it should not be painful, it is rather more like a ÒpinchingÓ or ÒpushingÓ feeling and this feeling is over very quickly. A bottle of iodinated contrast is then attached to the catheter using an IV tubing, and allowed to flow into your bladder. As the bladder is filling, the radiologist will take x-ray pictures with a special camera called a fluoroscope, in order to see all the required anatomy to make an accurate diagnosis. You will need to turn in various positions in order to get the required x-rays. Once the bladder is full, the catheter will be removed and you will need to urinate into a special bottle so that we may take x-ray pictures during this time. This test typically takes 10-15 minutes once the catheter is placed into the bladder. You can expect to be in the X-ray room for about 45 minutes
You may eat and drink immediately following the exam.
The results of your exam will be sent to your doctor and he/she will receive them usually within 24 hours. The radiologist is not required to communicate results to you personally. Keep in mind that the morning in our department is a busy time for the radiologist, and he/she will be performing many of these exams, one right after another. The afternoon is when your films will be thoroughly reviewed, a diagnosis will be made, and a report will be sent to your doctor.