Division of Urology

Your Child Is Scheduled for a Radiology Study

Our doctor was patient in answering my questions and gave me all the time we needed to carefully look at the ultrasound.
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Ultrasound
Voiding Cystourethrogram (VCUG)
MRI or MR Urogram
Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
Nuclear Medicine Renal Scan (MAG3 or DMSA)

Where to go for your radiology study

On the day of your child’s study, you must first report to the Division of Urology on the third floor of the Wood Center. After you are registered with Urology, you will be sent to Radiology, on the third floor of the Main Hospital. The Wood Center and the Main Hospital are connected by a bridge located on the second floor of the Wood Center and third floor of the Main Hospital.

Ultrasound

This test is a safe way to take pictures of the body without using X-rays. We use ultrasound to get a good look at the kidneys and bladder (with a renal bladder ultrasound) or the testicles (with a scrotal ultrasound).

Preparation

There are no food restrictions prior to the exam. If your child is having an ultrasound of the bladder and kidneys, your child must have a full bladder in order for the exam to be performed. Please follow the Department of Radiology preparation instructions for renal, bladder and pelvic exams.

What to expect

Your child will lie down on a soft, padded stretcher. A stretcher is a bed on wheels that we use in the hospital. A small amount of warm gel will be put on the area of your child’s body where the pictures will be taken. This gel may feel sticky. The technologist will hold a special wand and gently press the area to take the pictures; this does NOT hurt.

You may stay in the room with your child. The room will be dark like it is when you go to the movies. After the test is done, your child may resume his normal activities.

Length of test

The ultrasound should be completed in about 45 minutes.

For more information, please visit the Radiology website.

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Voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG)

A VCUG is an X-ray of the urinary system. This test will show whether your child has reflux, which is a backward flow of urine from the bladder into the kidneys. Parents are welcome and encouraged to stay with their child during the procedure.

Preparation

No special preparation is necessary.

What to expect

A Child Life Specialist may be available for your child. Child Life Specialists help prepare children for medical procedures using age-appropriate language and teaching materials such as dolls, pictures and medical equipment.

When it is time for the test to begin, a technologist (the person who will help with your child’s test) will bring you and your child into the room where the test is done. We invite parents to stay with their child for the entire test. If you do stay, the technologist will ask you to put a lead apron over your clothes. If you are pregnant or if there is a chance you could be, you will not be allowed to stay in the room with your child during the procedure. If this is the case, it is a good idea to bring another person to be with your child during the test.

In the procedure room, there is an X-ray table, which some children say looks like a bed. There are large cameras above and beside the bed. They take pictures by forming a tent over your child’s middle, while his head and feet stick out at each end. The camera will not touch your child, but it comes close.

The technologist will ask your child to take off all of his clothing and put on a hospital gown. Once changed, we will ask your child to get up on the table and lie on his back. After the X-ray is done the technologist will place a catheter (a small, flexible tube) into your child’s urethra (the tube that drains urine from the bladder to the outside of the body).

The catheter

The technologist will ask your child to lie flat on his back, pull his feet up close to his body, and point his knees out to the sides in a froggy position. The technologist will then use Betadine, a brown-colored soap to clean between the legs for girls and the penis for boys. Next, the technologist will insert the catheter into the child’s urethra, using a gel to help it slide in easily. This part may be uncomfortable for your child, but once it is in place the catheter should not hurt. Your child may say he feels like going to the bathroom. This is a normal feeling. Once the catheter is in place, the technologist will tape it lightly so it doesn’t fall out, your child can then straighten his legs.

The technologist uses the catheter to fill your child’s bladder with contrast, a liquid which allows the bladder to be seen on a screen. Many children say this looks like a balloon being inflated. Your child will be able to watch this on the TV screen if he wishes. The doctor will lower the camera over your child’s middle, where it will move back and forth taking pictures as your child’s bladder fills and then empties. As your child’s bladder fills, he may feel like going to the bathroom. The doctor will ask him to “hold it” until the bladder is full. Then your child will be asked to release the contrast. Your child will feel like he is urinating. This is difficult for some children, and may take some time. The catheter will slide out while your child is emptying his bladder. The technologist will place towels between your child’s legs to catch the liquid. Once he is finished urinating he will be able to get up, wash off and get dressed.

Length of test

The VCUG can last anywhere from 30-90 minutes.

For more information, please visit the Radiology website.

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MRI or MR urogram

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a powerful magnet and radiofrequencies to produce images of the body. The computer used in MRI allows us to produce either two- or three-dimensional images of structures. We use these tests to look at the spine, to check for obstruction in the urinary tract, and to get a good look at internal parts of the body like the vagina and uterus.

Preparation

We will call you to explain your child’s arrival time and diet limits. Please follow this information carefully so the staff has enough time to prepare you and your child for the MRI. If your child is a patient in the hospital, your doctor or nurse will discuss this information with you.

If you plan to go into the scanner room with your child, we will ask you some medical questions. We need to know if you have cochlear implants, artificial heart valves, bone pins or plates/screws, aneurysm clips, joint replacements, jewelry, hairpins, watches or calculators. People with pacemakers cannot be examined in an MRI. If you are pregnant or if there is a chance you could be, you will not be allowed to stay in the room with your child during the procedure. If this is the case, it is a good idea to bring another person to be with your child during the test.

We will ask you questions about your child’s history, including his medical problems and allergies.

If your child is going to receive sedation (medicine to help him stay calm and still), it is very important to follow the sedation preparation instructions.

What to expect

During the scan, your child needs to lie completely still. Most children younger than 10 will need sedation. Each child will be checked individually and the type of sedation will be discussed with you. If sedation is necessary, your child will not be allowed to have anything to eat or drink for a few hours before the scan.

Most children need an IV for sedation. An IV is a tiny plastic tube placed into a vein before the scan begins. A technician or nurse will place the IV line in your child’s hand or foot. Your child will feel a little pinch when this is placed. Once the IV tube is placed, your child will not have any more discomfort.

If your child is having an MR urogram, a nurse will insert a plastic tube, called a catheter, into your child’s bladder after your child is sedated. This tube will help the bladder drain while the study is done.

Your child will be placed on a padded MRI table. We will use soft Velcro belts to help him lie still. This table will slide into a round tunnel which many children say looks like a spaceship. Our MRI scanner has a speaker system, lights and video camera. This allows your child and the staff to talk with each other.

The MRI technologist who is taking the pictures will be just outside of the MRI room and can watch your child with a camera. You child will hear a loud banging noise when the pictures are taken. Some children say that the noise sounds like a rocket blasting off into outer space.

Length of test

The MRI usually lasts about 45-60 minutes.

For more information, please visit the Radiology website.

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Computed tomography (CT) scan

Computed tomography (CT), sometimes called a CAT Scan, uses X-rays and computers to create an image of the inside of the body. Most body parts can be examined using CT. We use this test primarily to check for stones.

Preparation

There are different preparations to follow according to exactly what type of CT scan your child is having. Please refer to the Department of Radiology instructions about what you should do prior to the exam.

What to expect

When it is time for the test to begin, a technologist (the person who will help with your child’s test) will bring you and your child into the room where the test is done. If you are pregnant or if there is a chance you could be, you will not be allowed to stay in the room with your child during the procedure. If this is the case, it is a good idea to bring another person to be with your child during the test.

If your child is going to be sedated, your child must have an intravenous line (IV). A technician or nurse will place the IV line in your child’s hand or foot. Your child will feel a little pinch when this is placed. Once the IV tube is placed, your child will not have any more discomfort. This IV is used to inject a special solution called an isotope into your child’s veins. This special solution makes it possible to see the kidneys clearly.

The technologist will position your child on the CT table, most likely lying on her back, depending on the body part being examined. The CT scanner has a red light that will shine on your child's body to help ensure she is in the right position. A lead shield will be provided to your child, as long as it does not interfere with the exam. If you are accompanying your child into the room, a shield will be provided to you as well.

The technologist will ask your child to hold very still during the scan. Any type of movement during a CT scan will make the images look fuzzy and may have to be repeated. Your child may also have to hold her breath a couple times during the scan.

After the technologist leaves the room, the CT scan will begin. The table will move through the doughnut hole slowly, and may even peek out from the other side. The CT scanner makes a small noise like the whirl of a washing machine. A voice recorded in the CT scanner will tell your child when to hold her breath and when she can breathe again.

Your child will not feel the X-rays from the CT scan, but sometimes holding still for a long time can be uncomfortable.

Length of test

The CT scan only takes about 5 to 15 minutes; however, your child may be in the room longer while the images are checked for quality, or if additional images are needed.

For more information, please visit the Radiology website.

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Nuclear medicine renal scan

A nuclear medicine renal scan, either an MAG3 or a DMSA, has been ordered for your child by your urologist. This test will allow the urologist to assess the function and drainage of your child’s kidneys.

Preparation

No special preparation is necessary.

What to expect - MAG3 or DMSA

Before the MAG3 or DMSA is started your child must have an intravenous line (IV). A technician or nurse will place the IV line in your child’s hand or foot. Your child will feel a little pinch when this is placed. Once the IV tube is placed, your child will not have any more discomfort. This IV is used to inject a special solution called an isotope into your child’s veins. This special solution makes it possible to see the kidneys clearly.

For a MAG3 study, your child will be given IV fluids during the exam to ensure that he stays well hydrated. Lasix will also be given through the IV during the imaging portion of the exam. Lasix is a diuretic medication that makes the bladder and kidneys empty and increases the urge to urinate.

For a DMSA study, pictures of your child’s kidney will be taken approximately three hours after the solution (isotope) is injected. You may want to bring something to entertain yourself and your child.

The technologist will bring you and your child into the scan room. One parent/guardian will be allowed to stay with your child during the test. If you are pregnant or if there is a chance you could be, you will not be allowed to stay in the room with your child during the procedure. If this is the case, it is a good idea to bring another person to be with your child during the test. You will see a large machine called a Gamma Camera. Your child will be placed on her stomach on a special bed; a camera will rotate around her. A seat belt is necessary for your child’s safety.

It is possible your child will need to have a catheter placed in the urinary opening. This is usually true if your child is an infant or cannot empty her bladder completely when asked. The catheter is placed through the urethra and into the bladder. By keeping your child’s bladder empty, the technologist is able to view the kidneys better.

The technologist will then begin to take many pictures. It is important that your child lie still while the pictures are being taken, especially during the time the camera rotates around her.

Length of  test

The test will take approximately 60 minutes.

Learn more about the MAG3, also known as the functional renal scan, and the DMSA scan.

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