VCUG (voiding cystourethrogram) is a diagnostic x-ray study that images the urethra and bladder before, during, and after emptying the bladder.


  • Recurrent urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • History of urethral stricture
  • Difficulty or incomplete bladder emptying
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Evaluation for vesicoureteral reflux


The patient lies down on his or her back on a special X-ray table (many children will need medication to help them remain still and relax so X-rays can be taken). An initial film of the pelvis and abdomen is taken, and then a catheter is inserted into the urethra so that contrast agent (dye) can be injected into the bladder. Several X-rays are taken from various angles as the bladder fills. The catheter is then removed, and additional X-rays are taken while the patient urinates into a container. Once the bladder is emptied, a final X-ray is taken. The entire test takes less than one hour to complete.

Side Effects

Most patients will experience some slight burning with urination or pass a small amount of blood for the first 24 hours after the procedure. Please let us know if you have any allergies to iodine or contrast agents. Some patients experiencing a reaction will have nausea, vomiting, and/or hot flashes. These reactions are usually treated with success with antihistamines.