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Cystourethrogram

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 camera.gif 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 position.

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.

Risks

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.

Some people may have an allergic reaction to the contrast material.

After the test

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 29, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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