Voiding Cystourethrogram (VCUG)


What Is a Voiding Cystourethrogram?


A voiding cystourethrogram is a test that uses x-rays to show the flow of urine through the urinary tract. It allows the doctor to determine how your child’s bladder functions. It also shows if urine is flowing backward into the kidneys or if another urinary problem is present.


Before the Voiding Cystourethrogram


  • No solid food for 6 hours prior to the procedure. No clear liquids for 2 hours prior to the procedure.
  • Report any allergies to the radiology nurse, especially those to iodine contrast (x-ray dye).

During the VCUG


  • A nurse may give a medication by mouth that causes drowsiness.
  • Your child will be positioned on the x-ray table and a thin, flexible tube called a catheter is gently inserted into the urethra and slowly passed into the bladder.
  • Contrast dye is put into the catheter to fill the bladder. The contrast makes the bladder show up clearly on the x-ray.
  • Several x-rays are taken as the bladder fills and empties.

Potential Risks and Complications

  • Discomfort during urination immediately after the procedure.
  • A bladder infection
  • Problems due to iodine contrast, including allergic reaction or kidney damage

After the Voiding Cystourethrogram Procedure


  • Your child may complain of soreness the first time or two they urinate. This is normal and should be gone within 4-6 hours.
  • Gently wash the area around the urethra to remove the antiseptic cleaner that was used.
  • Your child can get back to normal activities after the test.
  • Have your child drink lots of water to help the dye pass out of the body.
  • If sedation medications were given, please review the following:
    • Your child was given a medication that causing temporary drowsiness, clumsiness, and poor judgment. Supervise your child closely for the next 12 hours.
    • No activity that requires normal balance, strength, or coordination, including swimming, biking, skating, swing sets, monkey bars, and climbing for the next 24 hours.
    • Begin to drink clear liquids slowly over the next 2 hours. Then advance to more solid foods.

Call your doctor for any of the following:

  • Fever over 101 °F
  • Difficulty or inability to pass urine
  • Bloody urine
  • Worsening, severe pelvic pain

If any further questions or complications arise and you do not know what to do, please call the radiology department at Summit Healthcare at (928) 537-4375, ext. 6549. For questions after hours please ask for ext. 6332.

A report from today’s exam will be sent to your child’s doctor within 24 hours.

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