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A retrograde pyelogram is an imaging test that uses X-rays look at your bladder, ureters, and kidneys. The ureters are the long tubes that connect your kidneys to your bladder. This test is usually done during a test called cystoscopy. It uses an endoscope, which is a long, flexible, lighted tube. During a cystoscopy, the radiologist can inject contrast dye into the ureters. The contrast helps parts of the body show up more clearly on an X-ray.
A CT scan and kidney ultrasound are used more used than retrograde pyelography.
You may need a retrograde pyelogram if your healthcare provider thinks something is blocking your kidneys or ureters. This may be a tumor, stone, blood clot, or narrowing (strictures). The test is also used to check the placement of a catheter or a ureteral stent. A stent is a hollow tube that lets urine pass around a block.
This test can be done even if you are allergic to contrast dye. Only a small amount of the dye is absorbed by the body. This is unlike another more common test called an intravenous pyelogram. The test may also be done if you have poor kidney function.
Your healthcare provider may have other reasons to recommend a retrograde pyelogram.
You may want to ask your healthcare provider about the amount of radiation used during the test. Also ask about the risks as they apply to you.
Consider writing down all X-rays you get, including past scans and X-rays for other health reasons. Show this list to your provider. The risks of radiation exposure may be tied to the number of X-rays you have and the X-ray treatments you have over time.
Tell your healthcare provider if you:
Possible complications of retrograde pyelogram include:
You may not be able to have this test if you are severely dehydrated.
You may have other risks depending on your specific health condition. Be sure to talk with your provider about any concerns you have before the procedure.
Certain things can make a retrograde pyelogram less accurate. These include:
You may have a retrograde pyelogram as an outpatient or during a hospital stay. The way the test is done may vary depending on your condition and your healthcare provider's practices.
Generally, the retrograde pyelogram follows this process:
Your recovery will vary, depending on the type of procedure done and your doctor’s practices. After the procedure, you'll be taken to the recovery room to be watched. Once your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing are stable and you are alert, you'll be taken to your hospital room or sent home.
Your urine output will be watched closely for volume and signs of blood. It may be red from even a small amount of blood. This is normal and doesn't necessarily mean a problem. You may be told to keep watching your urine output for a day or so once you're at home.
You may have pain when you urinate. Take a pain reliever for soreness as recommended by your healthcare provider. Aspirin or certain other pain medicines may increase the chance of bleeding. Be sure to take only recommended medicine.
Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:
Your healthcare provider may give you other instructions, depending on your situation.
Bayhealth is Southern Delaware’s healthcare leader with hospitals in Dover and in Milford. Bayhealth provides a wide range of medical services, including cardiovascular, cancer, orthopaedics and rehabilitation, pediatrics, respiratory care, sleep care, surgical weight loss and women’s services.