What is a loopogram?
A loopogram is a diagnostic test that is performed on the section of bowel that functions in place of the urinary bladder.
Patients who do not have a bladder or have a malfunctioning bladder may undergo a surgical procedure called a urinary diversion to reroute the flow of urine through an opening in the abdomen. The opening is called a stoma. The stoma has no muscle and cannot control urine flow so that urine flows continuously through it.
Sometimes a section of bowel, usually the small intestine, is removed and repositioned to enable urine to flow from the ureters (tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder) to the stoma. This section of bowel is called an ileal conduit. The urine that flows through the conduit to the stoma is collected in an external pouch called a stoma bag.
Why would someone need a loopogram?
In cases of surgical intervention to treat bladder cancer, a laparoscopic radical cystectomy or a cystoprostatectomy can be performed. During these procedures, the bladder is removed. To restore urinary flow to patients, surgeons then have a number of options to divert the flow of urine. A loopogram tests the ileal conduit (or replacement bladder) to see if it is functioning as it should.
What happens before a loopogram?
You may eat and drink as usual before the test is performed. You should bring along a new stoma bag and any dressings that are required, since the stoma bag you are wearing will be removed before the procedure.
What happens during a loopogram?
The test is conducted by a radiologist, a specialist in X-ray procedures, probably with the help of a nurse and technician. Usually the patient lies on an X-ray bed and may have to assume various positions while the procedure is being performed. There should be no discomfort.
Before the X-rays are taken, a small catheter is inserted into the stoma. A small balloon at the end of the catheter is inflated to keep it in position. A special dye called a contrast agent will be injected through the catheter to display the loop of bowel on the X-rays. The actual procedure generally lasts about 15 minutes, although some additional time will be required to prepare the patient for the test.
What risks are associated with a loopogram?
The risks are minimal. A loopogram could increase the risk of infection. Pregnant women should not undergo a loopogram. Women who are of childbearing age will be asked about the date of their last period to make sure they aren’t pregnant
A note from Cleveland Clinic
A loopogram is not an invasive or traumatic procedure. As such, there is minimal recovery time. After the test is completed, you can return to your usual activities.
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