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Retrograde Pyelogram for Kidney Stones

The retrograde pyelogram uses a dye to find out whether a kidney stone or something else is blocking your urinary tract camera.gif. During the test, your doctor will insert a thin, lighted tube (cystoscope) into the urethra, which carries urine out of the body from the bladder. He or she will then put a catheter through the cystoscope and into a ureter, which carries urine from the kidney to the bladder. Dye is injected through the catheter, and X-rays are taken.

You will probably need a local or regional anesthetic with this procedure.

Your doctor may do this test if an intravenous pyelogram (IVP) does not help with the diagnosis. In an IVP, the dye is injected through a vein in your arm.

Why It Is Done

You may have a retrograde pyelogram if:

Pregnant women normally do not have this test, because the X-rays may harm the unborn baby.


Findings of the retrograde pyelogram may include the following.


The kidneys, ureters, and bladder appear normal.


The flow of the dye (contrast material) is blocked, either by a stone or another urinary problem.

What To Think About

The retrograde pyelogram provides the same information as an intravenous pyelogram (IVP). But the retrograde pyelogram can be used even if you are allergic to the dye. This test does not risk making existing kidney damage worse.

Unlike the IVP, the retrograde pyelogram requires an anesthetic and uses a catheter inserted into the urinary tract.

Complete the medical test information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this test.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerTushar J. Vachharajani, MD, FASN, FACP - Nephrology

Current as ofNovember 14, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
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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