Voiding Cystourethrogram (VCUG)

After the patient's bladder is filled with a liquid called contrast material, an X-ray machine sends beams of radiation through the abdomen and pelvis, and images are recorded on special film or a computer. These images help doctors see problems in parts of the urinary system, including the bladder, urethra (the tube connecting the bladder with the outside of the body), and the ureters (the tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder).

A radiologist takes the X-rays using a technique called fluoroscopy. While the contrast material fills your child's bladder, and then while your child empties the bladder, the radiologist watches an onscreen X-ray video of the liquid moving through the urinary system and a series of X-ray films is recorded.

In general, X-rays are very safe. Although there is some risk to the body with any exposure to radiation, the amount used in a VCUG is small and not considered dangerous. It's important to know that Nemours radiologists use the minimum amount of radiation required to perform the study properly.

 
What does a VCUG show?

A VCUG can show whether the urine is moving in the right direction. Normally, urine flows from the kidneys down to the bladder through the ureters. When urine goes back up toward the kidneys, it's called vesicoureteral reflux (VUR), which a VCUG can detect. Sometimes VUR only occurs while urinating (voiding), which is why the VCUG includes taking X-ray images while the bladder is being emptied.

 
About Sedation

At times, fear, anxiety, and developmental stage of a child contribute to his or her ability to cooperate with medical procedures. Pediatric procedural sedation can be used to decrease discomfort and anxiety for your child.

Sedation is available for VCUG and a separate sedation appointment would be needed to be scheduled prior to the study.

Providing sedation means a child is given medicine to make the child more relaxed. When a child is sedated, he or she may better tolerate a medical procedure and will probably not remember it.

The sedation team aims for mild to moderate sedation, meaning that your child will be relaxed, but awake enough to answer questions and to sense a full bladder.Typical sedatives for this procedure include midazolam (Versed), given orally or as a nasal spray, or nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) given with a mask. This procedure takes about 10 minutes for catheter placement and bladder filling, and another few minutes for the child to urinate.

A to Z: Edema

A to Z: Edema

Edema (eh-DEE-mah) is swelling due to the build-up of excess fluid in the body's tissues.

More to Know

Most often edema is found in the hands, arms, feet, ankles, or legs, but it can affect any part of the body, separately or as a whole. Signs of edema include stretched or shiny skin and dimples that remain in the skin after pressing down for 5 seconds.

Many things can cause edema, like sunburn, insect bites and stings, and even some medicines. Certain diseases of the heart, liver, kidneys, and thyroid also can cause edema.

Treatment of edema depends on what's causing it. It may be as simple as taking an antihistamine if due to an allergic reaction. Or, if it's related to the heart or kidney, a doctor might recommend taking a medicine called a diuretic (or water pill) to reduce swelling. Also, wearing support stockings or cutting back on salt intake can help. If another condition, like a liver or thyroid problem, is causing edema, the doctor will treat that, too.

Keep in Mind

Edema can be a temporary nuisance or a sign of a more serious problem. It should be evaluated by a health care provider to determine the cause. If you see signs of edema along with difficulty breathing or chest pain, call 911 or go to the emergency room right away.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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Date reviewed: September 26, 2016