A retrograde urethrogram is a procedure allowing the urethra to be x-rayed using a contrast dye. The dye is watched on the x-rays as it passes back through the urethra and into the bladder.

Urethrograms are done by a radiologist with a radiographer and sometimes a nurse.

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. The radiologist will carefully clean the genital area with an antiseptic wash. A sterile drape (a piece of cloth) is used to cover your groin and surrounding area. A small amount of anaesthetic gel is applied to the urethral opening to minimise discomfort. A urinary catheter is then inserted in the tip of the urethra. A small balloon is inflated to hold it in place. A cushion will be used to position your body with one hip raised. A small amount of x-ray dye is introduced to the urethra through the catheter and x-rays are taken as it passes into the bladder.

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 inform us if you are on medication to thin your blood (e.g. Warfarin, Aspirin or Clopidogrel), have an iodine allergy, or are pregnant.

Other Information

After the procedure

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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