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    Intravenous Urography

    Possible Risks
    Where To Seek Treatment
    Singapore General Hospital
    Contributed by Singapore General Hospital


    This is a specialised x-ray examination of the kidneys, ureters and bladder (urinary system).

    This radiographic examination is used to study the ability of the urinary system to excrete urine. It has also the advantage of demonstrating the whole urinary system.


    Before the examination is carried out, the bowels need to be cleansed in order to obtain accurate diagnosis. This requires the following preparation:

    • Take 2 Bisacodyl tablets on the night before your examination. The tablets will encourage bowel movement;
    • DO NOT take food at least 4 hours before your appointment;
    • DO NOT take fluid 4 hours before your appointment;
    • Continue with your medications as prescribed by your doctor. However, if you are a diabetic and you are not taking any food, please do not take your anti-diabetic drugs. Inform the staff of your condition.

    On Arrival

    You will be required to change into a hospital gown. A locker will be provided for your belongings, but please keep your valuables at home.

    Please inform the radiographer if your answer is ‘Yes’ to any of the following questions:-

    • Do you have asthma?
    • Do you have any drug allergy?
    • Do you have any heart condition?
    • Are you allergic to any seafood or iodine?

    During the Intravenous Urography Examination

    • Before the examination starts, you will be asked to empty your bladder. In the examination room, you will be lying down on the x-ray couch.
    • During the examination, the radiologist will give you an injection at the forearm. The injection contains a special drug (contrast medium) that allows the urinary system to be clearly seen on x-ray films.
    • There is a possible risk that some patients may experience allergic reaction to the dye (contrast medium) after injection. If you felt nauseous, ill or developed rashes after the injection, please immediately inform the radiographer who attends to you
    • A compression belt is also placed over the abdomen and is tightened after the injection. The belt is needed to assess the functioning of the kidneys. A slight discomfort is normally expected from the compression of the belt. The compression will be removed at a later stage of the examination.
    • Throughout the examination, several x-ray images will be taken.

    The entire examination may take 1-2 hours.Due to the nature of our work, some examinations may take longer than anticipated and we may not be able to keep strictly to schedule.

    If you have any questions about the examination, do not hesitate to ask the radiographer attending to you.

    After The Examination
    Please do not change out of your hospital gown immediately after the examination. It may be necessary to do some additional views after the initial images were processed and reviewed.

    Results of the Examination

    The radiologist will review the images and report the findings to your physician, who will then discuss the results with you on your next appointment.

    Possible Risks

    As with all procedures involving ionizing radiation, a radiation risk applies. However, the benefits of an accurate diagnosis far outweigh the risks.
    Contrast materials used in IVU studies can cause adverse reactions in some people. However, our radiographers and radiologists are well-trained to deal with such reactions.


    X-ray imaging is not usually indicated for pregnant women.

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