A cystogram is an x-ray exam performed by SMIL to examine the bladder. This test can be used in the diagnosis reflux, which is marked by a backing up of urine that should be exiting the body. Instead, it moves through the tubes that transport urine to the bladder and back towards the kidneys. Cystograms are also used to determine the shape of a patient’s bladder and its position, as well as to find damage from injuries, tumors and polyps.
During the cystogram, you will be reclined on an x-ray table. Next, your pubic area will be cleaned and the SMIL radiologist will place a catheter, a small thin tube, into the urethra, the opening from which urine exits the body. After the catheter is in place, your SMIL radiologist will use the catheter to fill your bladder with a solution, called a contrast agent, which is intended to make seeing the organs easier.
With the contrasting agent in place, the radiologist then begins to take x-rays using a fluoroscope, an x-ray unit that is attached to a monitor or television screen. After the radiologist has obtained the images, your catheter will be removed and to allow you to urinate. Additional x-rays may be taken to determine whether there is any contrasting agent left after the patient voided.
Usually, patients are not restricted from eating or drinking before a cystogram. However, they may be restricted from urinating right before the test. A cystogram isn’t usually painful, though the pressure of a bladder full of contrast agent can be uncomfortable to some.
Likewise, the insertion of the catheter can be uncomfortable. To help make it easier on the patient, some doctors may place a numbing agent around the urethra before inserting the catheter.
Learn how to prepare for the scan in the cystogram section.
Find out if this procedure is right for you in the benefits and risks of cystogram section.
For a downloadable/printable PDF about this exam with preparation instructions click here.