Depending on a child’s particular symptoms, urodynamics procedures can be very simple (for example, a doctor or nurse observing the patient during urination to determine how long it takes for the bladder to empty and whether all of the urine is removed), or they can be more involved.
The most common types of non-invasive procedures are:
- Biofeedback—Uses a combination of electrodes attached to the skin, computerized images and exercises to teach children how to contract and relax their muscles appropriately while urinating
- Bladder scan (also called a “focused ultrasound”)—Uses a hand-held sound wave device, placed over the abdomen, to determine the amount of urine in the bladder before and after urination
- Urinary flow rate, or “uroflow” (UF)—Uses a special toilet, connected to a computer, to record the amount, pattern and rate of urine flow
- Uroflowmetry with skin patch electromyography (UF/EMG)—Uses sensors placed around the perineum (the area between the anus and the vagina or penis) to measure the activity of the muscles and nerves extending over the pelvis during urination
Sometimes your doctor may require a more invasive urodynamics test. These can include:
- Cystometrogram (CMG)—Uses special tubes (called catheters) in the rectum and bladder to measure bladder pressure while filling with and emptying urine
- Urethral pressure profile (UPP)—Uses a thin, flexible tube (called a catheter) in the bladder to monitor the activity of the sphincter muscles when the bladder is filling up, emptying out and completely empty
- More rarely, if a child shows signs of a neurological problem, the care team may recommend a “full study” of the urinary sphincter. This means that in addition to a bladder and rectal catheter, a electrode is inserted into the external urinary sphincter muscle to monitor nerve and muscle activity, the child is examined by a neurologist.