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A VCUG, or a voiding cystourethrogram, is a minimally invasive test that uses a special x-ray technology called fluoroscopy to visualize your child's urinary tract and bladder.
A VCUG can help:
VCUGs are performed by the Department of Radiology's Diagnostic Radiology program, which has an experienced team of pediatric radiologists, nurses, technologists and a Child Life specialist dedicated to making your child's visit as safe, pleasant and comfortable as possible.
We perform more than 2,000 VCUGs a year, almost all without sedation. Our Child Life specialist supports your family before and during the exam.
We suggest talking to your child about why the test is important and what it is designed to accomplish. Explain that you will be with your child the entire time. If you are pregnant, you will not be able to be in the room when x-rays are taken. Please bring another family member or friend instead.
There are no restrictions on eating or drinking before the exam. If you have questions about the test or how to help your child prepare, you may call Child Life specialist Angela Franceschi at 617-355-6923 before you come to the hospital.
"All of our children and families are prepared for the VCUG, and I think that contributes to the positive outcomes. We take the time to show them the equipment and familiarize them with what they will see, feel and hear; there are no surprises." –Angela Franceschi, child life specialist, talking about a urinary tract imaging test called the voiding cystourethrogram.
In a survey of our patients, parents compared the discomfort of a VCUG as similar to or better than an immunization (Sandy N et al. Assessment of parental satisfaction in children undergoing voiding cystourethrogram without sedation. J Urol 2011; 185 (2):658:662).
The test is performed in the morning. On the day of the VCUG, you will speak with a radiologist, who will explain what will happen during the procedure and answer any questions or concerns you may have. A Child Life specialist or another clinical staff member will also be present to assist you in caring for your child during the test.
When you arrive in the Radiology Department:
The technologist will let you know when your child may get dressed and you may leave. If you have an appointment with another doctor in the hospital afterward, the radiologist will give you a note with the results to take with you. The radiologist will then prepare a written report for your child's doctor.
Your child may have:
Call your child's doctor if your child has red blood in the urine, pain or a fever.
Your child will be exposed to ionizing radiation (x-rays) during this procedure. While we always attempt to minimize exposure to x-rays, we believe that the benefit of an accurate diagnosis outweighs the exposure that occurs during the exam.
Because children are more sensitive to radiation exposure than adults, we have been leaders in adjusting equipment and procedures to deliver the lowest possible dose to young patients.
Department of Radiology
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