Diagnostics & Testing

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Genitourinary Examinations

(Also Called 'Cystography', 'Intravenous Pyelography', 'Intravenous Urography', 'IVP (Intravenous Pyelography)', 'VCU (Voiding Cystourethrography)', 'Voiding Cystourethrography')

What are genitourinary tests?

Genitourinary tests are X-ray studies of the organs of the genitourinary system: the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Genitourinary tests are performed to look for blockage, injury, or other abnormalities in these organs.

There are several types of genitourinary tests: intravenous urography (also called an intravenous pyelography or IVP), cystography, and voiding cystourethrography (VCU).

In Intravenous pyelography, contrast material injected through the arm filters through the bloodstream and eventually to the kidneys, through the ureters and into the bladder.  A series of x-rays is taken as the filtering occurs. In cystography, the contrast material is injected through a catheter inserted through the urethra and into the bladder, and x-rays are taken.

In Intravenous pyelography, contrast material injected through the arm filters through the bloodstream and eventually to the kidneys, through the ureters and into the bladder. A series of x-rays is taken as the filtering occurs. In cystography, the contrast material is injected through a catheter inserted through the urethra and into the bladder, and x-rays are taken.

Before the test

No special preparation is necessary for cystography or voiding cystourethrography.

  • If you are scheduled for intravenous pyelography, you will have to drink one bottle (30 ounces) of Citrate of Magnesia between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. the day before the test. Citrate of Magnesia is a laxative that is taken to remove any intestinal gas or feces that might obscure the X-ray image.
  • Do not eat or drink anything from 10 p.m. the night before the test until after the test is complete. However, you may take your usual medications with a small amount of water. Exception: Do not take Lasix or other diuretics (water pills).
  • If you have diabetes and take insulin, we try to have your will make every effort possible to test scheduled your test early in the day.
  • If you have any questions about how to prepare for your test, please call the radiologist.

On the day of the test

Please do not bring valuables such as jewelry or credit cards.

  • The test is performed and the results are reviewed by registered, licensed technologists and board-certified radiologists.
  • Most genitourinary tests take about 1 hour.
  • You will empty your bladder, and you will be asked to change into a hospital gown.

During the test

Intravenous pyelography

A contrast solution will be introduced gradually into your vein (intravenously). The contrast solution enables the radiologist to visualize the genitourinary organs on X-ray films.

You may feel a slight tingling or warmth from the contrast material. As the kidneys filter the contrast material and it moves into your bladder, a series of X-ray pictures will be taken.

Cystourethrography

A catheter (long, slender tube) will be inserted into your bladder. This may cause some discomfort. When the catheter is in place, contrast solution will be injected through the catheter and a series of X-ray pictures will be taken.

After the test

Generally, you can resume your usual activities and normal diet immediately.

No special preparation is necessary for cystography or voiding cystourethrography. A contrast solution will be introduced gradually into your vein (intravenously). The contrast solution enables the radiologist to visualize the genitourinary organs on X-ray films. A catheter (long, slender tube) will be inserted into your bladder. This may cause some discomfort. When the catheter is in place, contrast solution will be injected through the catheter and a series of X-ray pictures will be taken. Generally, you can resume your usual activities and normal diet immediately.

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 2/1/2007...#4843


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