Radiology

Nuclear VCUG (Voiding Cysto-Urethrogram)

Nuclear VCUG
Nuclear VCUG
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What is a Nuclear VCUG?

What should you do prior to your child's exam?

What should you do when you arrive?

What should you expect during the exam?

What should you do after the exam?

Test results

What is a Nuclear VCUG (Voiding* Cysto-Urethrogram)?

A Nuclear VCUG (Voiding* Cysto-Urethrogram) evaluates a child's bladder size, shape, and capacity, as well as the urethra. The urethra is a small tube that connects the bladder with the outside of the body. This procedure can also determine if a child has reflux — a condition where urine from the bladder goes upward back to the kidneys. This exam may be ordered after a child experiences frequent urinary tract infections.

A Nuclear VCUG is obtained by the use of a radiopharmaceutical introduced through a catheter in the bladder. This exam is performed on children of all ages.

*The word void means to urinate.

What should you do prior to the exam?

There are no special preparations for your child to follow prior to this exam.

Dress your child comfortably, in clothes that are easily removed. Your child will be given a gown to change into for the procedure.

We have a large variety of video entertainment to choose from, however, your child can also bring along his/her favorite video or DVD to watch during the exam.

You may want to bring a snack or drink for your child to have after the exam.

For female patients, it might be helpful to practice the "frog-legs" or "butterfly" position. The child lies on their back with their knees bent and feet together, then lets their knees fall out to the side but their feet but the feet should stay together.

Note: Parents will be allowed to accompany the child into the exam room. It may be helpful to make other arrangements for siblings.

What should you do when you arrive?

If your appointment is scheduled at the Main Hospital:

You must check in to Outpatient Registration, on the third floor of the Main Hospital, 45 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment. This is where your registration process occurs.

The law requires that you bring a prescription from your doctor's office stating the exam to be done and the reason for it.

If your insurance requires a referral, it must be presented at the time of registration. Proof of insurance will also need to be provided at this time.

Once the registration process is completed, the Nuclear Medicine Department will be notified. A technologist will come out to the central registration area and bring you and your child to the exam room.

If your appointment is scheduled at the Pediatric Imaging Center at King of Prussia:

You must check in at the main registration desk, located in the main waiting room, 45 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment. This is where your registration process occurs.

The law requires that you bring a prescription from your doctor's office stating the exam to be done and the reason for it.

If your insurance requires a referral, it must be presented at the time of registration. Proof of insurance will also need to be provided at this time.

Once the registration process is completed, you will be directed to the Radiology waiting room. The Nuclear Medicine technologist will be notified and will come out to the Radiology waiting room and bring you and your child to the exam room.

What should you expect during the exam?

The technologist will ask why the VCUG is being performed and explain the procedure to you and your child. The bladder will need to be catheterized for this exam. Your child will need to lay on the x-ray table with his/her legs in a "Frog Position" or "Butterfly Position".

The technologist will wipe down the urethral area with three to four cotton balls soaked in "Brown Soap", which is an iodine based cleaning agent. The soap may feel a bit cool. Once the area is cleaned, a tiny tube, or catheter, will be placed into your child's bladder. Your child may feel some pressure, and the sensation or urge to urinate. As a relaxation technique during this process, we will ask your child to take in big deep breaths. Once the catheter is placed we will secure the tube to your child's leg with a piece or two of tape and the exam will begin.

The catheter will be connected to a bottle of saline mixed with a radiopharmaceutical. The saline will flow through the urinary catheter into your child's bladder. Pictures will be taken, while the bladder is being filled. Your child will be asked to hold the saline in even though they may feel the urge to urinate. Once the bladder is full, we will ask your child to urinate while still on the table. (Small children and infants will probably urinate on their own.) We will supply a bedpan or a urinal, and/or sprinkle cool water on your child to help stimulate him/her to urinate. Once your child starts to urinate, more pictures will be taken. After your child urinates and the bladder is empty the catheter will be removed. A few additional pictures may be obtained to complete the study. This exam, including the preparation process, varies in duration this is due to the filling and emptying time of the bladder. Average time is 30 to 45 minutes.

Due to the personal nature of the exam, your child may feel uncomfortable and/or embarrassed. Please assure your child that you will be with him/her the entire time.

The best way to help your child cope with this procedure is to be honest and speak in simple words that your child can understand and to be available to comfort him or her during the test.

Sedation is not an option for this procedure.

Child Life Specialists are available to answer questions you might have about how to prepare and support your child during the procedure. A child life specialist can also be present at the time of your child's appointment to explain the procedure in developmentally appropriate ways using well established preparation materials. The specialist can also be available to help implement distraction techniques to help your child better cope with the stress of the hospital experience. Please call 215-590-2001 or click the link above for more information. If your child's procedure is scheduled for the Pediatric Imaging Center at King of Prussia, you can call the Child Life Specialist directly at 215-590-3069.

What should you do after the exam?

There are no special instructions for your child to follow upon completion of this procedure.

Test results

The images from your child's exam are interpreted on the same day and a report is sent to your physician's office.

If your physician has any questions regarding the report, he/she may call 215-590-2584.

Here is an example of what your child's exam may look like.

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