A loopogram is a test that allows a provider to see how well your urinary tract is working after bladder removal. They’ll insert a tube into the stoma (surgical hole) in your abdomen and use contrast agent to get X-rays of your kidneys, ureters, ileal conduit and stoma.


What is a loopogram?

A loopogram is a procedure that allows a healthcare provider to check how well pee (urine) is flowing in people who’ve had their bladders removed and replaced with an ileal conduit. You might have an ileal conduit if you’ve had a radical cystectomy or a cystoprostatectomy to treat bladder cancer or another serious bladder condition.

An ileal conduit is a part of your small intestine that a surgeon removes and attaches to your ureters (tubes that drain pee from your kidneys) in place of your bladder. The other end connects to a hole that a surgeon makes in your abdomen (stoma). This redirects pee (urine), which would normally be stored in your bladder, to the outside of your body instead. This procedure is called urinary diversion.

A loopogram gives your provider a series of pictures of your urinary tract, including your kidneys, ureters, ileal conduit and stoma.

Why is a loopogram performed?

Providers use a loopogram to check how your urinary tract is working after urinary diversion surgery. This allows them to evaluate any issues and make treatment decisions. Sometimes, providers also use distal loopograms to evaluate a colostomy or ileostomy.

Who needs a loopogram?

You might need a loopogram if you have a stoma. A stoma is a surgical hole in your abdomen that your surgeon makes when redirecting your urinary or digestive tract. Pee or poop empties into a bag attached to the stoma. You might have a stoma if you’ve had a:

  • Urostomy, which redirects your urinary tract.
  • Colostomy, which redirects your colon (large intestine).
  • Ileostomy, which redirects your small intestine.


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Test Details

How does a loopogram work?

During a loopogram, a healthcare provider (usually a radiologist or radiology technician) will insert a tube (catheter) into the stoma in your abdomen. They’ll put contrast fluid into the catheter, which will flow through the ileal conduit, your ureters and your kidneys. The contrast fluid allows the structures of your urinary tract to show up on X-rays, where your provider can look for any issues, like narrowing or leaks.

How do you prepare for a loopogram?

To prepare for a loopogram:

  • Wear comfortable clothing that’s easy to change out of and minimal jewelry. You’ll wear a hospital gown for the procedure. The provider may ask you to remove certain types of jewelry, like belly chains.
  • Tell your provider if you might be pregnant. You may be asked to take a pregnancy test at a provider’s office before the procedure.
  • Bring along a new stoma bag and dressings. The provider performing the procedure will remove your current stoma bag for the loopogram.
  • You can eat, drink and take your medications as usual before a loopogram.

What happens during a loopogram?

During a loopogram, a provider will:

  1. Help you get into position on the table.
  2. Remove your stoma bag.
  3. Clean the area around the stoma.
  4. Insert a tube (catheter) into the stoma.
  5. Inject contrast fluid into the catheter.
  6. Take several X-ray images of your urinary tract. They may ask you to change positions to get different pictures.
  7. Remove the catheter and put on a new stoma bag.

How long does a loopogram take?

A loopogram itself only takes about 15 minutes. But you can expect to spend 30 minutes to an hour at the appointment.

What can I expect after a loopogram?

After the test, you’re free to resume your normal activities unless your provider gives you specific instructions not to.

What are the risks and side effects of a loopogram?

A loopogram has minimal risk. There’s a small risk of infection or allergic reactions to the contrast agent. You shouldn’t have a loopogram if you’re pregnant.


Results and Follow-Up

How do I get the results of my loopogram?

A radiologist will send the images and their notes to the provider that requested the loopogram. If your provider sees any issues, like narrowing or leaks, they’ll talk with you about treatment options and next steps.

When should I call my doctor?

Call your healthcare provider if you have any questions about the test or its results.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Having your bladder removed is a major change to how your urinary tract works. A loopogram is a safe, noninvasive way for your provider to get more information about whether this change is working as planned. This can help them identify any issues and make a plan to treat them before they cause complications. Don’t hesitate to ask your provider about any concerns you have about the test or its results.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed on 03/11/2024.

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