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What is Cystography?

Cystography uses X-rays and iodine contrast dyes to look at the bladder for a blockage or birth defect. It can find a vesical fistula , a bladder rupture , or vesicoureteral reflux (VUR).

There are two versions of this test. The first type is one with X-ray. The second type of test is with nuclear medicine. Many physicians believe the radionuclide cystography is better for tracing urine flow through the urinary tract. It uses less radiation and does not rely on fluoroscopy.

To insert the dye, the doctor will first insert a catheter through the urethra to the bladder. The dye is injected into the bladder. X-ray pictures are taken as the bladder fills, from different angles. More images are taken after the dye drains. The test takes about 1.5 hours and the patient may wait while films are developed.

While voiding cystograms are still used to evaluate the male urethra for bladder trauma, most reflux studies today are done with radionuclide cystography.

While the risks are low, patients could get a urinary tract infection from the catheter. Also, the catheter could damage the urethra, bladder or nearby structures. It’s best to work with a highly experienced urologist.

For more information please visit our UrologyHealth.org articles on Contrast and Radionuclide Cystography and on radionuclide cystogram.