About the Scan – Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP)

An intravenous pyelogram (IVP) is an x-ray examination performed by SMIL that scans the kidneys, ureters and urinary bladder with the use of iodinated contrast material injected into veins.

When a contrast material is injected into a vein in your arm, it travels through the blood stream and collects in the kidneys and urinary tract, turning these areas bright white on the x-ray images. An IVP allows the SMIL radiologist to view and assess the anatomy and function of the kidneys, ureters and the bladder.

An intravenous pyelogram examination helps SMIL radiologists assess abnormalities in the urinary system, as well as how quickly and efficiently your system is able to handle fluid waste.

The exam is used to help diagnose symptoms such as blood in the urine or pain in the side or lower back.

The IVP exam can enable the radiologist to detect problems within the urinary tract resulting from:

  • kidney stones
  • enlarged prostate
  • tumors in the kidney, ureters or urinary bladder
  • surgery on the urinary tract
  • congenital anomalies of the urinary tract

This IVP examination performed at SMIL is usually done on an outpatient basis. During the exam, you will be positioned on the table while x-ray images are taken. The contrast material is then injected, usually in a vein in your arm, followed by additional still images. The number of images taken depends on the reason for the examination and your anatomy.

You must hold very still and may be asked to keep from breathing for a few seconds while the x-ray picture is taken to reduce the possibility of a blurred image. The SMIL technologist will walk behind a wall or into the next room to activate the x-ray machine.

As the contrast material is processed by the kidneys, a series of images is taken to determine the actual size of the kidneys and to capture the urinary tract in action as it begins to empty. The technologist may apply a compression band around the body to better visualize the urinary structures leading from the kidney.

When the examination is complete, you will be asked to wait until the SMIL radiologist determines that all the necessary images have been obtained.

An IVP study is usually completed within an hour. However, because some kidneys function at a slower rate, the exam may last up to four hours.

Learn how to prepare for the scan in the intravenous pyelogram section.

Find out if this procedure is right for you in the benefits and risks of intravenous pyelogram section.

For a downloadable/printable PDF about this exam with preparation instructions click here.

Connect with us!

SMIL – Proud to Provide Medical Imaging for ASU's Student Athletes ©

Contact Us/Helpful Resources
Notice of Privacy Practices English / Spanish
Notice of Nondiscrimination
Patient Bill of Rights

© 2022 Southwest Medical Imaging
SMIL is a proud affiliate of Radiology Partners