Nuclear Cystogram

A nuclear cystogram is a test which shows the lower urinary system (the bladder and ureters or tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder) and how well it works.

Special pictures are taken after a liquid medicine is put into the bladder through a catheter.

  • Before you come to the hospital, explain to your child what will happen in words that he/she can understand. For younger children, explain only right before the test. Sometimes it is difficult to know how to explain this test to children. If you would like help, please call a child life specialist at 513-636-8034.
  • You and your child may ask any questions at anytime before, during or after the test.
  • You are encouraged to stay with your child during the test. Children are usually more cooperative and less apprehensive when a loved one is with them.
  • Please bring comfort items, such as a pacifier, bottle, blanket, stuffed animal, book or favorite toy for your child to have during the test.
  • It is recommended that siblings stay with another caregiver so that you can be with your child.
  • There are no shots or needles involved in this test.
  • This test usually lasts about 20 minutes.

If Potty Trained

  • Your child will need to take off shoes, pants and underwear (dresses can be pulled up) and then lie on a special soft bed. Your child's privacy will be maintained through the use of sheets or towels.
  • A nuclear medicine technologist will clean the opening where your child's urine comes out and then slide a small, thin, soft tube or catheter into your child's bladder through that opening. The tube or catheter will be secured with a piece of tape.
  • Your child will need to lie still while the catheter is placed and during the pictures. It is often difficult for young children to hold still for this procedure. Our staff will assist and support your child in holding still.
  • While your child is lying on the bed, a nuclear medicine technologist will be taking continuous pictures from a large camera located under the bed.
  • A special clear liquid containing medicine will be used to fill your child's bladder through the catheter. This "special water" can be seen on the pictures. There are no side effects to this medicine.
  • When your child's bladder is full, we will help him/her get ready to urinate while sitting on a special potty or urinal. We will move the camera from under the bed to an upright position. We will help your child sit on the potty (or stand with a urinal) with his/her back up against the camera. Your child will be encouraged to continue holding in the urine while a picture is taken and then allowed to urinate into the potty or urinal.
  • After your child urinates and all the pictures have been completed, the tape will be removed, and the catheter will come out.
  • You may stay close to your child during the entire procedure, holding hands, talking and providing comfort.
  • It is possible that during the procedure your child may experience some discomfort. Please tell the doctor, nurse, or technologist if pain occurs.

If Not Potty Trained

  • You will need to remove your child's clothing from the waist down and then have him/her lie a on a special soft bed. Your child's privacy will be maintained through the use of sheets or towels.
  • A nuclear medicine technologist will clean the opening where your child's urine comes out and then slide a small, thin, soft tube or catheter into your child's bladder through that opening.
  • Your child will need to lie still while the catheter is placed and during the pictures. It is often difficult for young children to hold still for this procedure. Our staff will assist and support your child in holding still.
  • While your child is lying on the bed, a nuclear medicine technologist will be taking continuous pictures from a large camera located under the bed.
  • A special clear liquid containing medicine will be used to fill your child's bladder through the catheter. This "special water" can be seen on the pictures. There are no side effects to this medicine.
  • Your child will begin to feel full but will not be able to urinate yet because of a small "balloon" inside the catheter tube preventing urination. Once the technologist fills your child's bladder to a certain volume, the "balloon" will be released and your child can urinate onto a diaper or pads.
  • After your child urinates and all the pictures have been completed the catheter will be removed.
  • You may stay close to your child during the entire procedure, holding hands, talking and providing comfort.
  • It is possible that during the procedure your child may experience some discomfort. Please tell the doctor, nurse, or technologist if pain occurs.
  • Your child will be cleaned with washcloths and towels and then get redressed.
  • Your child may return to normal daily activities.
  • After having a urinary catheter (tube), your child's urine may appear pink the first time he/she urinates. This is caused by a small amount of blood in the urine. This is normal, but if it lasts longer than 24 hours or your child has difficulty urinating, call your child's pediatrician.
  • After the test, encourage your child to drink extra fluids in order to urinate more frequently. This will help with any irritation or burning sensations that occasionally occur after having a catheter.
  • The results from this procedure will be sent to your child's doctor usually within 24 hours. Please contact that doctor for follow-up information.

Last Updated 06/2012