How is a Ureterocele Diagnosed?

Often, ureteroceles can be seen during maternal ultrasounds before the birth of a child. Still, they may not be diagnosed until a child is seen for another problem, like a urinary tract infection.

Ultrasound is the first imaging test used to find this condition. Other imaging studies may be done to help understand what’s happening, and for treatment. For an infant or small child, the following tests may be done:

  • A voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG) may be done to see the bladder in action. This is a series of X-rays of the bladder and lower urinary tract taken with a special dye. First a catheter is inserted in the urethra to fill the bladder with a water-based dye. It is removed. Then several X-rays are taken as the patient empties the bladder. These images allow radiologists to find problems in the flow of urine through the body.
  • When a ureterocele has been found, it is also important to evaluate the kidneys for damage and evidence for blockage to urine flow across the ureterocele. A nuclear renal scan will provide ample information in this regard.
  • In cases were the relevant anatomy is not clear, an MRI test may also be done. This will allow the surgeon to better prepare for surgery (if necessary).