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VCUG (Voiding Cystourethrogram) for children

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 my child? Urinary tract infection is probably the most common reason to undergo a VCUG.  

What does my child need to do to prepare for the exam?
You may be asked to not give your child anything to eat or drink on the morning of their exam.  

What should I expect when I arrive at the hospital?
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 will be taken to the Pediatric Unit where your child will need to have a urinary catheter placed in his/her bladder. A pediatric nurse will insert the catheter after cleansing the area. After the catheter is in place, you will be brought to the Imaging Department.  

Who will be in the exam room with my child?
There will be an x-ray technologist, a Radiologist (a doctor specialized in x-rays), and a parent or guardian may also be in the room. There may be a student from the Radiology School in the room assisting the technologist.  

What will my child experience during the exam?
Your child may feel the need to urinate, but that sensation is generally due to having the catheter in place. You should be able to go to the x-ray exam room with your child. It may be a good idea to bring a favorite toy or blanket to help soothe your child.   During the exam, he/she 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 your child to move in different positions for these x-rays. The technologist will then remove the catheter and your child will be encouraged to empty his/her bladder on the table. This is important to check for abnormalities while the bladder empties. Some young children have difficulties with emptying their bladders on the table. If that is the case, you and your child will be taken to a restroom and then an x-ray can be taken after the bladder is empty. That concludes the exam..  

What does my child need to do after the exam?
Your child 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 the Radiology Department for assistance.

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 Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa | 1000 4th Street SW Mason City, IA 50401 | 641-428-7000

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