Mercy Medical Center North Iowa

VCUG (Voiding Cystourethrogram) for adults

What is Voiding Cystourethrogram (VCUG)?
A VCUG is an x-ray examination of the bladder, urethra, and ureters. These structures are difficult to see on x-rays, so a contrast material is used to highlight these organs. The contrast material is introduced into the bladder through a urinary catheter.  

Why did the doctor order this exam for me?
This exam is performed for many reasons. Urinary tract infection is the most common reason to undergo a VCUG.  

What do I need to do to prepare for the exam?
You may be asked to not eat or drink on the morning of the exam.  

You will first need to check in and register at the Radiology Registration desk. To access Radiology Registration from the hospital's main entrance, follow the red line on the floor. At time of registration you will be asked to update your personal and insurance information. Once you are registered, you may be given a pager and asked to sit in a waiting area. A technologist will page you and take you to a changing room where you will get dressed for your exam. You will need to put on a hospital gown and robe. The technologist will take you into an exam room where a nurse will insert a urinary catheter into your bladder.   

Who will be in the exam room with me?
There will be an x-ray technologist and a Radiologist (a doctor specialized in x-rays) in the room with you. There also may be a student from the Radiology School in the room assisting the technologist.  

What will I experience during the exam?
You may feel the need to urinate, but that sensation is generally due to having the catheter in place.   During the exam, you will need to lay on the x-ray table. The contrast material will be in a bottle that is connected to the catheter. The contrast material will be dripped into the bladder slowly and the Radiologist will be able to watch the bladder fill with the x-ray machine. When the bladder is full of the contrast material, the radiologist will take several x-rays and may ask you to move in different positions for these x-rays. The technologist will then remove the catheter and you will be encouraged to empty your bladder into a urinal. The radiologist will most likely be taking x-rays while you are emptying your bladder. That concludes the exam.

What do I need to do after the exam?
You may resume normal eating and drinking. The contrast material is a colorless liquid that is excreted in the urine so you won't notice it. There are no restrictions after a VCUG.  

When will I get the results of the exam?
The results will be available at your doctor's office within two to three days. Some doctors will schedule an appointment with you to give you the results. If you do not have an appointment, please call you doctor's office for the results. If you have any problems receiving your results, you can call Mercy Imaging Department for assistance.