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Pediatric VCUG

What is a VCUG?

A voiding cystourethrogram or VCUG, allows the radiologist to check for reflux, a condition in which urine leaves the bladder and returns to the kidney. Our staff will take x-rays of your child’s bladder and urethra. If it is determined that reflux is present, your child’s physician can then treat the condition.

mother child 2A VCUG is a routine exam administered to children of all ages. This examination is painless, but does require your child’s cooperation, to help expedite the exam. Parents’ involvement before, during and after the exam is encouraged and greatly appreciated.


Feel free to bring a special toy, blanket, book or other belonging to provide comfort during the exam. Also consider bringing a snack or treat that you may give your child after the exam.

During the Exam

Your child will be asked to wear an examination gown. The x-ray technologist will take you and your child to the examining room, where your child will lie on his/her back on an x-ray table. With you at your child’s side, a nurse will place a catheter, a tiny flexible tube, into your child’s bladder via the urethra. Discomfort which may occur during the insertion usually goes away once the tube is in position. The nurse then leaves the room. One parent/guardian is permitted to stay with the child during the x-ray portion in the examining room. The radiologist and the x-ray technologist will begin the x-ray portion of the procedure.

A contrast solution fills the bladder and allows the bladder to be visible on x-rays. The radiologist captures various images of the bladder and views them on a computer screen.

Assessing the urethra is a critical part of this examination, and to do so, your child will need to urinate during the exam. Depending on the child’s age, this may require additional reassurance from you.

After the Exam

Following the exam, some children experience irritation from the catheter, such as a burning sensation during urination or blood on his/her undergarments. This is normal, and will usually go away within 24 hours.