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Nuclear Medicine VCUG (Voiding Cystourethrogram)

(757) 668-7000


What is a Nuclear Medicine VCUG?

A Nuclear Medicine VCUG (Voiding Cystourethrogram) is a special exam that shows urine flow.

Why is a nuclear medicine VCUG done?

Normally, the kidneys filter liquid waste (urine) from the body. The urine flows down the ureters (small tubes) from the kidneys to the bladder. The bladder is the part of your child's body that stores urine. When it is time for the bladder to empty, the sphincter (muscle) relaxes and the bladder squeezes the urine out. Once the bladder is empty, the sphincter tightens; the bladder relaxes and starts to refill. The urethra is the tube the urine flows through from the bladder to the outside of the body.

A Nuclear Medicine VCUG is done to check the urine flow through the bladder and urethra. It shows any reflux (reverse flow) of urine and how well the bladder empties. Urine flow should be down from the kidneys to the bladder. With reflux, there is urine flow back up the ureters from the bladder as well as urine flowing out the urethra.

Before the Nuclear Medicine VCUG:

There is no special preparation needed. Your child may eat and drink as normal before the test.

The test will be done in the Radiology Department, which is located on the first floor of Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters. Please arrive on time.

What happens during a Nuclear Medicine VCUG?

The nuclear medicine technologist will come into the room to talk to your child. Your child will be placed in a position so the urethra can be seen. The area will then be washed and a small tube will be placed into the bladder through the urethra. This might feel uncomfortable. The nuclear medicine technologist will then attach a bag of fluid to the end of the tube. A medicine that can be seen on x-rays will be added to the fluid. The fluid will be put into your child’s bladder through the tube in his/her urethra. Pictures will be taken as the bladder fills and empties. The tube is also taken out while the bladder empties.

The test usually takes from 15 to 30 minutes but it might take a little longer depending on how many pictures the doctor wants. After all the pictures have been taken you may take your child home.

What to expect after the test:

  • Your child may have slight discomfort after the test when he/she passes urine. Warm baths may be helpful.
  • Your child will need to drink lots of fluids for one day.
  • Your child’s doctor will call you in a few days to discuss the test results.

Follow-up Care:

Please call your child's doctor for a follow-up appointment or if you have any questions.

Please feel free to contact the Radiology Department between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 668-7250.


Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 02/07

(757) 668-7000