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Alternative namesBladder scan
DefinitionA Radionuclide cystogram is a test ( nuclear scan ) using radioactive material (radioisotope) that is placed into the bladder. A scanner then detects radioactivity to evaluate bladder and urinary tract functions.
How the test is performed
The specific procedure may vary slightly depending on the reason for the examination (reflux, distention, incomplete emptying, etc.)
To test for incomplete bladder emptying, images may be taken with the bladder full, then the person is allowed to get up and urinate into the toilet, return to the scanner, and images are taken immediately after emptying the bladder.
How to prepare for the testNo medication, fasting, or special diets are usually necessary.
A consent form will need to be signed. You will wear a hospital gown. Remove jewelry and metal objects before the scan.
How the test will feelThere may be some discomfort during insertion of the catheter. Catheterization and urination in public (and sometimes, when lying on the table) may be difficult or embarrassing. You cannot feel the radioisotope or the scanning.
After the scan, there may be slight discomfort for 1 or 2 days when urinating and the urine may be slightly pink. If discomfort persists, fever develops, or if the urine is bright red, notify the health care provider.
Why the test is performedThis test is performed to evaluate the filling and emptying of the bladder, and to evaluate for reflux of urine or obstruction to the flow of urine.
Normal ValuesA normal value is no reflux or other abnormal urine flow, and no obstruction to the flow of urine occurs. The bladder empties completely.
What abnormal results mean
What the risks areRisks are essentially the same as for X-rays (radiation) and catheterization of the bladder.
There is a small amount of radiation exposure with any nuclear scan (it comes from the radioisotope, not the scanner). The radiation is very mild, and virtually all radiation is gone in a short time. However, any radiation exposure is discouraged for women who are (or might be) pregnant.
Risks for catheterization include a risk for causing a urinary tract infection and the risk (rare, but may occur) of damage to the urethra, bladder, or other nearby structures.
Special considerationsThis test is very useful to provide information about how the bladder responds to pressure, without exposure to radiographic contrast materials.
Update Date: 10/17/2003Jeffrey Brown, M.D., Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT