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Voiding Cystourethrogram (VCUG)

What Is a Voiding Cystourethrogram?

A voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG) is an exam that takes images of the urinary system.

The patient's bladder is filled with a liquid called contrast material. Then, images of the bladder and kidneys are taken as the bladder fills and also while the patient urinates (pees). These images help doctors see problems in:

  • the bladder, the muscular sac in the lower belly that holds pee
  • the urethra (yoo-REE-thruh), the tube connecting the bladder with the outside of the body
  • the ureters (YUR-uh-ters), the tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder

How Is a Voiding Cystourethrogram Done?

The images for a voiding cystourethrogram (siss-toe-yuh-REE-thruh-gram) can be taken two ways: with an X-ray or an ultrasound.

X-Ray

An X-ray machine sends beams of radiation through the belly and images are recorded on a computer. X-ray images are black and white. Some body parts, such as bones, appear white on the X-ray. Some body parts, such as the kidneys and bladder, are hard to see on an X-ray. But the contrast material used for the test makes it much easier to see the urinary tract on the X-ray.

A radiologist takes the X-rays using a technique called