How It Is Done
A cystourethrogram is done by a
urologist or a
radiologist. The doctor may be assisted by an X-ray
technologist. You usually will not have to be admitted to the hospital.
You will need to take off all or most of your clothes, and you will be
given a cloth or paper covering to use during the test. You will be asked to
urinate just before the test begins.
You will be asked to lie on
your back on an X-ray table. Your genital area will be cleaned and draped with
sterile towels. Men may be given a lead shield that covers their genitals to
protect them from radiation. But women's
ovaries cannot be shielded without blocking the view
of the bladder.
A catheter will be placed through your urethra
and into your bladder. Contrast material will then slowly be injected through
the catheter until your bladder is full.
X-rays will be taken
when you are standing up and sitting and lying down. The catheter is removed
and more X-rays will be taken while you are urinating. You may be asked to stop
urinating, change positions, and begin urinating again. If you are unable to
urinate in one position, you may be asked to try it from another
This test usually takes 30 to 45 minutes.
How It Feels
You will feel no discomfort from the
X-rays. The X-ray table may feel hard and the room may be cool. You may find
that the positions you need to hold are uncomfortable or painful.
You will feel a strong urge to urinate at times during the test. You may
also find it somewhat uncomfortable when the catheter is inserted and left in
place. You will have a feeling of fullness in your bladder and an urge to
urinate when the contrast material is injected. You may be sore afterward. If
so, soaking in a warm tub bath may help.
You may feel embarrassed
at having to urinate in front of other people. This procedure is quite routine
for the X-ray staff. If you find yourself feeling embarrassed, take deep, slow
breaths and try to relax.
You may feel burning when you urinate.
A cystourethrogram does not usually cause
problems. Occasionally this test may lead to a urinary tract infection. If the
contrast material is injected with too much pressure, there is some chance of
damage to the bladder or urethra.
There is always a slight chance
of damage to cells or tissue from radiation, including the low levels of
radiation used for this test. But the chance of damage from the X-rays is
usually very low compared with the benefits of the test.
people may have an allergic reaction to the contrast material.
After the test