Nuclear Cystogram

A nuclear cystogram is a test which shows the lower urinary system (the bladder and ureters or tubes linking 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 the Test

  • Before you come to the hospital, explain to your child what will happen in words that they can understand. For younger children, explain only right before the test. Sometimes it is hard 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 any time before, during or after the test.
  • You are encouraged to stay with your child during the test. Children often do better and are less nervous when a loved one is with them.
  • Please bring comfort items (pacifier, bottle, blanket, stuffed animal, book, favorite toy) for your child to have during the test.
  • It is advised 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 most often lasts about 20 minutes.

During the Test

If Potty Trained

  • Your child will need to take off shoes, pants and underwear (dresses can be pulled up). Then your child will 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 hard for young children to hold still. 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 pictures the whole time from a large camera that is under the bed.
  • A special clear liquid 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 them 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 asked to keep holding in the urine while a picture is taken. Then your child can urinate into the potty or urinal.
  • After your child urinates and all the pictures are done, the tape will be removed, and the catheter will come out.
  • You may stay close to your child during the whole procedure, holding hands, talking and giving comfort.
  • Your child may have some discomfort during this procedure. Please tell our staff if pain occurs.

If Not Potty Trained

  • You will need to remove your child's clothing from the waist down. Then have your child lie on the 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 hard for young children to hold still. 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 pictures the whole time from a large camera under the bed.
  • A special clear liquid 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 which prevents urination. Once the technologist fills your child's bladder to the right 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 taken the catheter will be removed.
  • You may stay close to your child during the whole procedure, holding hands, talking and giving comfort.
  • Your child may have some discomfort during the procedure. Please tell our staff if pain occurs.

After the Test

  • Your child will be cleaned with washcloths and towels. Then your child can get dressed.
  • Your child may return to normal daily activities.
  • After having a urinary catheter (tube), your child's urine may look pink the first time they urinate. 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 problems urinating, call your child's pediatrician.
  • After the test, encourage your child to drink extra fluids in order to urinate more often. This will help with any irritation or burning feelings that sometimes happen after having a catheter.
  • The results from this procedure will be sent to your child's doctor, most often within 24 hours. Please contact that doctor for follow-up information.

Last Updated 10/2018

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For more information or to request an appointment, contact the Division of Urology.

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