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Cystography (also called retrograde cystography) is an exam of the bladder using x-rays. This test is done by a radiologist, a doctor who specializes in the use of x-ray imaging to diagnose and treat health conditions. During a cystography, the bladder is filled with a special contrast medium (x-ray dye) or radioactive medium (radionuclide). This medium ensures more detailed x-ray pictures.
A cystography can help diagnose such bladder problems as:
Lesions or ruptures of the bladder wall
Urinary tract infection
Tell the radiologist if you have any allergies to contrast medium. Also mention if you have a current bladder infection or are pregnant.
If instructed, use a laxative or an enema to empty your bowel before the exam.
Empty your bladder before the exam.
Follow any other instructions you are given.
Infection or bruising around the catheter insertion site
Problems due to contrast medium, including allergic reaction or kidney damage
Radiation exposure to reproductive organs
You will change into a hospital gown and lie on an exam table. Your urethra will be numbed with an anesthetic jelly. You may also be given medication to help you relax.
A catheter (thin tube) will be inserted into the urethra up to the bladder. You will feel pressure. The dye or medium is injected through the catheter into the bladder. As your bladder fills with this liquid, you will feel the urge to urinate. Tell the radiologist when the urge becomes uncomfortable.
The catheter is removed. X-rays are taken of the full bladder. The bladder is then drained and more x-rays are taken.
Blood in your urine after three urinations
Signs of infection, including chills, fever, increased heart rate, and fast breathing
You may feel some burning during urination for a few hours after the test. Drink plenty of water after the procedure to help dilute your urine.
Your doctor will discuss your test results with you and recommend further testing or treatment.