Cystogram or voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG) for children

What is this test?

This test looks for problems in the urinary tract.

Your appointment

If you make any changes to your insurance before your appointment please call Registration at 1-866-309-0832. This will help to lessen any delays and the need to reschedule your test, as many radiology services need a pre-authorization.

You will start at Stead Family Children's Hospital in Imaging (Radiology). Take the Public Elevator to Lower Level 2 (LL2). Check in at the front desk when you get off the elevator. 

After your prep is done, you will take Elevator H or I to Level 3 to Nuclear Medicine. 

Park in parking ramp 2. 

Please be sure to check in by your scheduled time. 

If you have any questions or need to cancel your appointment please call Nuclear Medicine at 1-319-356-1911.

Getting ready for your test


  • Your child may eat and drink as normal before their test.
    • If your child has any other test today where you are told not to eat or drink for a longer amount of time, follow those instructions.
  • Have your child drink a lot of fluids before their test.


  • Your child may take their normal medicines before and after the test.
  • Your child may have some pain after the test. Give them Tylenol (acetaminophen) before the test. 

If you're unable to do any of the prep listed above, your child may not be able to have the test or it may need to be rescheduled.

What to expect

  • The test will take about one hour.
  • Parents are often able to stay with their child during the test. Talk with the X-ray doctor about this.
  • A Child Life Specialist can help your child from being afraid during the test. Please let us know if you would like us to call them.
  • During the test:
    1. A small tube called a catheter will be put into your child's bladder through their urethra.
      • The urethra is the small opening where urine comes out.
    2. After the tube is placed, a small amount of radioactive medicine is put into your child's bladder. Then a sterile (clean) liquid will be out through the tube to fill up your child's bladder.
      • The level of radioactivity in the drug is very low.
      • There are no side effects.
    3. Pictures will be taken of your child's bladder with a gamma camera.
      • It is placed close to their stomach.
      • It does not put out radiation.
      • It is not painful.
    4. The tube is taken out of your child's bladder.
  • After the test:
    1. Your child should drink a lot of fluids. This will help him/her pee to wash out the fluid.
    2. Go back to the clinic unless you were told you may go home after the test.
    3. Your doctor will talk to you about the test.
Last reviewed: 
August 2018

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