Voiding cystourethrogram diagnostic test for UTIs and bladder problems

Your doctor may order a voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG) to determine the cause of certain symptoms such as difficulty emptying your bladder. VCUG is often prescribed for children who have recurring urinary tract infections. In children, in particular, the doctor may be looking to see if urine is “backing up” from the bladder into the kidneys.

How VCUG works and what to expect during the exam

A VCUG is an X-ray procedure that starts with the insertion of a catheter (thin plastic tube) into your urethra through to your bladder. Using fluoroscopy, your bladder is filled with contrast dye and X-ray images are shown while the bladder is full. After the images are taken, you will be instructed to release your bladder, usually into a bedpan or onto an absorbent sheet. More images are taken while you are urinating to capture what’s happening in your bladder while the bladder is emptying.

A radiologist will then review your images and provide a report indicating whether additional action or medication is needed, or if no action is required because the results are normal.

To schedule an appointment with a specialist at Main Line Health, call 1.866.CALL.MLH (1.866.225.5654) or use our secure online appointment request form.