Health Library
Voiding Cystourethrogram (VCUG)

What is a Voiding Cystourethrogram?

A voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG) is a test which uses X-rays to take pictures of the urinary system.

It shows how well the bladder and its connecting tubes (the urethra and the ureters) are working.

What is Fluoroscopy?

Fluoroscopy is a type of imaging that uses X-Ray pictures to look inside the body. Like a video, these pictures are real time, live, moving images.

What is a VCUG?

A fluoroscopy exam that takes pictures as the patient’s bladder is filled with a clear liquid called contrast. The contrast shows the urinary system including the bladder, urethra, and ureters. This exam may identify kidney reflux (urine moving backwards from the bladder to the kidneys.)

What Should You Know Before a VCUG?

  • Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment time.
  • No special patient preparation is required (patient may change into a gown).
  • Total estimated exam time is 45min-1 hour.
  • Siblings and other children will not be allowed in the exam room. Please make arrangements as we are unable to provide childcare.
  • Child Life Specialists may be available to provide preparation and support during the exam.
  • What Should You Know During a VCUG?

  • A parent or caregiver may stay close to the patient during the entire exam holding hands, talking, and providing comfort.
  • The patient will lay down on the procedure bed.
  • The patient’s privacy will be respected and maintained with the use of sheets or towels.
  • The opening where the pee comes out (urethra) will be cleaned with special soap.
  • A small, soft, flexible tube (catheter) is slipped through the opening and into the bladder.
  • The catheter is kept in place with small pieces of soft tape.
  • A series of fluoroscopy pictures are taken as the bladder is filled with contrast until the bladder is full.
  • After the bladder is full the patient will pee around the catheter into a cup (urinal), bed pan, or diaper.
  • At the end of the exam the catheter is removed.
  • What Should You Know After a VCUG?

  • The patient can resume normal activities.
  • The patient may complain of discomfort with peeing. Drinking more fluids can help lessen this sensation.
  • The patient’s pee could have a pink color but if this lasts more than 24 hours then call the ordering doctor’s office.
  • After the test, encourage the patient to drink extra fluids. This will help them urinate more often. This helps with any irritation or burning feeling that sometimes happen after having a catheter.
  • The results will be available to the ordering doctor and in MyChart within 24 hours.
  • Last Updated 01/2022

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

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