What is CT urography?

CT urography is a sophisticated, specialized radiological examination designed to evaluate the urinary tract (kidneys, ureters and bladder) using computed tomography (CT). This exam has been introduced to replace or complement the IVP (or excretory urogram). CT produces slices or cross-sectional images through the body enabling detailed evaluation of the internal organs. The CT urogram is optimally designed to specifically evaluate the urinary tract with the added advantage of visualizing all of the other abdominal and pelvic structures as well.

What are the indications for this procedure?

The two main indications for this examination are to detect kidney stones and to evaluate patients with blood in their urine (hematuria).

What will I experience during the procedure?

Most CT exams are painless, fast and easy. With spiral CT, the amount of time that the patient needs to lie still is reduced. Though the scanning itself causes no pain, there may be some discomfort from having to remain still for several minutes. If an intravenous contrast material is used, you will feel a slight pin prick when the needle is inserted into your vein. You may have a warm, flushed sensation during the injection of the contrast materials and a metallic taste in your mouth that lasts for a few minutes. Occasionally, a patient will develop itching and hives, which can be relieved with medication.

If the contrast material is swallowed, you may find the taste mildly unpleasant; however, most patients can easily tolerate it. You can expect to experience a sense of abdominal fullness and an increasing need to expel the liquid if your contrast material is given by enema. In this case, be patient, as the mild discomfort will not last long. Many patients also receive iodine intravenously (injected into a vein) to help evaluate blood vessels and organs such as the liver, kidneys and pancreas.

When you enter the CT scanner, special lights may be used to ensure that you are properly positioned. You will hear only slight buzzing, clicking and whirring sounds as the CT scanner revolves around you during the imaging process.You will be alone in the exam room during the CT scan, however, the technologist will be able to see, hear and speak with you at all times.

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