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What is an Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP)?

Male Urinary Tract
Male Urinary Tract
Medical Illustration Copyright © 2015 Nucleus Medical Media, All rights reserved

Female Urinary Tract
Female Urinary Tract
Medical Illustration Copyright © 2015 Nucleus Medical Media, All rights reserved

IVP is an x-ray exam that uses a special dye to outline the kidneys, ureters and bladder. It can show how your renal and urinary system handles fluid waste. This helps your health care team find problems in the urinary tract.

IVP is used to diagnose why a patient has blood in their urine, or pain in their side/lower back. It can also show us how each person's unique kidneys and urinary system is made. It can find:

The dye shows up well on the x-ray and outlines your organs.

When is IVP Used?

Before computed tomography (CT) imaging was widely available, IVP was very common. It would be used to check:

IVP isn't used as much today, but it's still sometimes helpful.

CT has become the x-ray study of choice for the urinary tract. CT can rapidly (even in a single breath) make an image of the entire area. A CT scan shows a cross-sectional view of the patient. In some cases, a CT study doesn't need to use a contrast agent. It can often provide better information than an IVP. However, it does result in an increased amount of radiation.