This test is done to outline the kidneys and bladder. It allows for kidney measurement and the detection of any “enlargement of the collecting systems of the kidney” termed hydronephrosis. This test is not invasive. It involves the placement of gel on the abdomen followed by placement of a probe to picture the kidneys and the bladder. The ureters are normally not imaged on ultrasound.
(VCUG) Voiding Cystourethrogram:
This X-ray test gives important information regarding the structure of the bladder and the urethra (or the tube through which urine passes from the bladder during urination), and it allows for the detection of reflux (backflow of urine from the bladder to the kidneys through the tubes which connect the kidneys and the bladder). To perform the test a small tube is passed through the urethra to the bladder. The bladder is filled through that tube, and x-rays are taken as the bladder fills and then as the bladder empties. The test is not painful, but catheterization has some pain associated with it. Your child can read a book during the test. The result of the test is usually readily available for discussion with your urologist.
This test, like the voiding cystogram, is useful to detect ureteral reflux. However, it does not provide the urologist with a “picture of the bladder or urethra.” It involves passing a small tube into the urethra through which special fluid is used to fill the bladder and image the activity.
Nuclear Renal Scan:
This test is used to evaluate how well the kidneys function and how well they drain. It provides the urologist with a picture of the kidneys over a period of time; each of these pictures can be quantified by the computer and give a graph which is useful in determining if there is an obstruction in the kidney or in the ureter. The amount of radiation involved is much less than in a conventional IVP study.