An antegrade urethrogram is a procedure allowing the urethra to be x-rayed when contrast dye passes from the bladder through the urethra.
The bladder is first filled with x-ray dye. This can be done in two ways: 1) a nurse will insert a urinary catheter into the bladder through the urethra, or 2) the patient already has a surgically inserted suprapubic catheter.
Urethrograms are done by a radiologist with a radiographer and sometimes a nurse present.
Your images will be looked at by a radiologist who will provide a written report for your doctor. Sometimes, the radiologist will speak to you in person during the examination.
This procedure is available at the following Jones Radiology locations:
You will lie on your back on an x-ray table and the radiologist will carefully clean the genital (or suprapubic) area with a specific antiseptic wash. A sterile drape (a piece of cloth) is used to cover your groin and surrounding area.
Urethral Catheter Method
A small amount of anaesthetic gel is applied to the urethral opening to minimise discomfort. A urinary catheter is then inserted in the urethra until it reaches the bladder. A small balloon is inflated to hold it in place. The bladder is filled with x-ray dye until you feel full. Once there is sufficient dye in the bladder, the urethral catheter is removed. The x-ray table will be raised to a standing position by the radiographer. You will be handed a urine bottle that will catch the urine and dye while you to urinate (void) and the x-rays are taken. X-rays are taken as the dye passes out the bladder through the urethra. It is common to have some difficulty voiding on command. Our experienced and patient staff will support you as needed.
Suprapubic Catheter Dye
The catheter bag is removed, and a syringe filled with contrast dye- is attached. The bladder is filled with the contrast dye until you feel full. Once there is sufficient dye in the bladder, the syringe is removed. The x-ray table will be raised by the radiographer until you are in a standing position. You will be handed a urine bottle that will catch the urine and dye while you to urinate (void) and the x-rays are taken. X-rays are taken as the dye passes out the bladder through the urethra. It is common to have some difficulty voiding on command. Our experienced and patient staff will support you as needed.
Risks / Side effects
Urethrograms are safe procedures. While there is a small risk of urinary tract infection, this is minimised by doing the procedure under sterile conditions and following strict infection control practices.
If x-ray contrast is administered, there is a small risk of an allergic reaction. A mild allergic reaction occurs in 1/1000 injections and includes a rash, hives or sneezing. More severe reactions such as difficulty breathing are less common. Severe life-threatening reactions are extremely rare (1 in 170,000).
Before your Scan
You will be asked to change into an examination gown for your safety and comfort and to make sure your clothing does not affect the images.
You can eat and drink before and after the procedure. If you are on any regular medication or have diabetes and are on insulin, take your usual medication and diet.
Please tell us if you are on medication to thin your blood (e.g. Warfarin, Aspirin or Clopidogrel), have an iodine allergy, or are pregnant.
After the procedure, you will able to go to the toilet, freshen up with towels provided, and get changed back into your clothes.
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