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​Radiology Studies

Where to go for your radiology study
Radiology studies may be performed in one of several different hospitals. When the test is scheduled you should be informed as to the hospital where the test is being performed, the time to report for the exam and if there are any specific feeding instructions or preparation needed. If you are unsure please call the radiology department where the test was scheduled for questions.

Can I stay with my child during the study?

Parents are encouraged to stay with their child during the radiology tests. If you do stay, the technologist will ask you to put a lead apron over your clothes if radiation is involved. If you are pregnant or if there is a chance you could be, you will not be allowed to stay in the room with your child during the procedure. If this is the case, it is a good idea to bring another person to be with your child during the test.

This test is a safe way to take pictures of the body without using X-rays. We use ultrasound to get a good look at the kidneys and bladder (with a renal bladder ultrasound) or the testicles (with a scrotal ultrasound).

Preparation There are no food restrictions prior to the exam. If your child is having an ultrasound of the bladder and kidneys, your child must have a full bladder in order for the exam to be performed. 

What to expect Your child will lie down on a soft, padded exam table. A small amount of warm gel will be put on the area of your child’s body where the pictures will be taken. This gel may feel sticky. The technologist will hold a special wand and gently press the area to take the pictures; this does NOT hurt. You may stay in the room with your child. The room will be dark like it is when you go to the movies. After the test is done, your child may resume his normal activities.

Length of test The ultrasound should be completed in about 45 minutes.

Voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG)
A VCUG is an X-ray of the urinary system used to visualize the bladder and urethra and to determine if your child has reflux, which is a backward flow of urine from the bladder up to the kidneys. Parents are encouraged to stay with their child during the procedure.

Preparation No special preparation is necessary.

What to expect  You and your child are brought into an procedure room where your child will be changed into a hospital gown.   Initially the child will be placed on their back and an X-ray will be taken. A small catheter (tube) will then be placed into your child's bladder (girls will be placed in frog leg position, boys can remain flat). This part may be uncomfortable for your child, but once in place the hard part is done. Your child may feel the urge to go to the bathroom due to the catheter- this is normal. The catheter will then be taped in place and X-ray dye sill then be used to fill the bladder. Several X-rays will be taken while the bladder is filling. After the bladder is filled, the catheter will be removed and your child will be asked to urinate. Several more X-rays will be taken while your child is urinating. This is often difficult for some children and may take some time to start urinating. Once this is complete your child will be able to wash off from the test and get dressed. They may have some burning with urination for the next several days following the test and may have some pink, blood tinge to the urine. These are not worrisome signs and will go away after several days. 

Length of test  The VCUG can last anywhere from 30-90 minutes.

Computed tomography (CT) scan

Computed tomography (CT) scan (aka CAT Scan) uses X-rays and computers to create an image of the inside of the body.  We use this test primarily to check for stones, however it is often useful to look at cysts or masses as well.

Preparation This may differ based on the type of CT scan your child is having so please refer to the Department of Radiology instructions about what you should do prior to the exam.

What to expect  The child will be asked to disrobe and change into a gown. Depending on the test, your child may require an IV to be placed prior to the study. Your child will be positioned on their back on the CT scanner table. The CT scanner has a red light that will shine on your child's body to help ensure she is in the right position. A lead shield will be provided to your child to cover any portions of the body not being examined. If you are accompanying your child into the room, a shield will be provided to you as well.The technologist will ask your child to hold very still during the scan and may ask them to hold their breath for a short period of time.  After the technologist leaves the room, the CT scan will begin. The table will move through the scanner slowly. The CT scanner makes a small noise like the whirl of a washing machine.  

Length of test  The CT scan only takes about 5 to 15 minutes; however, your child may be in the room longer while the images are checked for quality, or if additional images are needed.

Nuclear medicine renal scan
A nuclear medicine renal scan, either an MAG3 or a DMSA, is radiologic method to assess the function and drainage of your child’s kidneys.

Preparation  No special preparation is necessary.

What to expect  A provider will place an IV line in your child’s hand or foot. Your child may receive some sedation administered by an anesthesiologist depending on your child's age and the study being ordered. A bladder catheter may also need to be placed and remain in place in order to empty the bladder for the exam. A special X-ray solution is then injected through the IV that flows through the veins and is taken up by the kidneys. For the MAG3 scan your child may receive additional IV fluids to make sure that they are well hydrated and they will receive a diuretic injection in order to make sure that the kidneys are working at their maximum in order to wash the X-ray solution out of the kidneys. Your child will need to remain as still as possible when the images are taken. 

Length of  test The test may take up to 2-3 hours so bring something to occupy your time.

Pediatric Urology Associates, Charlotte, NC