Childr Health Information

Nuclear Cystogram

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Topic: Tests & Procedures

This handout was written to answer some of the questions most often asked about having a nuclear cystogram. Feel free to ask the x-ray technologist or nurse to go over any information you do not understand.

A nuclear cystogram is a test that uses a small amount of radioactive material to study the urinary system. The urinary system helps the body get rid of waste after it uses the nutrients from the food we eat. The urinary system also helps the body maintain the right balance of water and chemicals. The kidneys, the bladder, the tubes connecting them – called ureters – and the urethra make up the urinary system.

The body uses the nutrients from the food that we eat and the kidneys filter out the waste. The remaining fluids flow from the kidneys, through the ureters and into the bladder until it leaves the body through the urethra during urination. Some children have a condition called vesicoureteral reflux, or simply reflux. Reflux causes urinary problems, especially urinary tract infections (UTIs), because reflux allows bacteria and germs to reach the kidneys. Not all children with UTIs have reflux. However, it is important to know if your child has reflux because it could determine the treatment.
• He or she will change into a hospital gown and will be asked to lie down on the table. The technologist will clean the opening of the urethra using cotton balls and soap. The technologist will insert a small flexible tube called a catheter into the bladder. It is inserted through the penis in boys and through the urethra in girls.
• The bladder is filled slowly over a nine-minute period. At this point your child will need to urinate.
• Pictures are taken during the time your child’s bladder is filling and during the time your child empties his or her bladder. When your child empties his or her bladder, the tube will be removed and a picture will be taken when his or her bladder is completely empty.
• The entire process will take 30 to 60 minutes.

Your child will not feel the x-ray camera taking pictures. Your child will feel the cold, wet soap as the technologist wipes the area for the catheterization. As the catheter is inserted, your child may feel some discomfort and pressure. This may also make your child feel the need to urinate. Some children say this part of the test hurts a little, but many say it is simply uncomfortable. Once the catheter is in place your child probably won’t feel it is there. As the bladder is being filled, your child will feel a growing need to urinate. Your child may feel the catheter as it comes out during voiding.

When and how to prepare your child for a nuclear cystogram depends on his or her age. For infants, no preparation is necessary, as long as you understand the procedure. Toddlers require very simple preparation and explanation just before the procedure begins. Older children require more detailed information in advance. Adolescents should be prepared far enough in advance to give them time to ask questions. It is important to tell your child what to expect, including the different sensations he or she may feel. Most children will be concerned about what they will feel throughout the nuclear cystogram. Many ask if it will hurt. It is always important to be honest with your child. Share with your child that there will be no needles. Resist saying it won’t hurt. You can say “ Your test might feel uncomfortable for a short time but I will help you get through it”. When you arrive for your appointment a staff member will discuss the procedure in an age-appropriate way with your child. They will address any concerns that you or your child may have and if necessary help him or her come up with some ways to get through the procedure. At Dayton Children’s we take these extra steps because our goal is to decrease your child’s anxiety and make this experience as comfortable as possible.

Many times the mere presence of a parent or caregiver is enough to soothe a child. Some children need extra help getting through the nuclear cystogram. If your child has a special toy or blanket that provides a sense of security for them, please bring the item with you. Your child can hold it during the procedure. Taking deep breaths with your child can help relax the body and relieve anxiety.The child life specialist, along with the radiology team has many “distraction”  tools to use as an alternative focus. These include blowing bubbles, playing with toys, reading a picture book or simply keeping the child distracted by talking. While many children benefit from being distracted, other children prefer to watch the x-ray screen. Some children need to cry throughout the procedure. Crying is a healthy way of coping because it allows them to express their emotions. Children react to stressful situations in different ways. The technologist, child life specialist and radiologist are all dedicated to making this experience as comfortable as possible for both you and your child.

The results from the nuclear cystogram will be sent to your referring physician. If you have any questions, please call 937-641-3888. This handout is for general information only. It should not be considered complete. For further information about nuclear cystograms, please ask your doctor or nurse practitioner.

PDF: Child Health Information - NUCLEAR CYSTOGRAM

Derechos de autor(c) de The Children's Medical Center, ano 1999. Este material unicamente tiene fines educativos. No puede ser reproducido, distribuido ni modificado sin previa autorizacion de The Children's Medical Center of Dayton, One Children's Plaza, Dayton, Ohio, 45404-1815. Llame al 937-641-3666 para solicitar autorizacion o para obtener un juego maestro para copias. Para obtener mas informacion puede visitar (consulte la seccion de informacion legal).

La informacion contenida en este material es unicamente informacion de tipo general. No debe considerarse como completa. Para obtener mas informacion acerca de los complementos para leche materna, por favor pidala a su doctor.
Corregido: 1999, 2000, 2005

The information contained in this handout is for general information only and should not be considered complete. For specific information about bathing your baby, please ask your doctor or nurse practitioner.

Additional information may be located in the Family Resource Center, 2nd floor, near the Outpatient Surgery Center. Hours of the center vary; please contact the Family Resource Center at 937-641-3700.

Copyright(c) The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. This material is for educational purposes only. It cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission from Dayton Children's.
Revised: 1999, 2000, 2005


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