Voiding Cystourethrogram (VCUG) for Children

If your child has experienced multiple urinary tract or bladder infections, they might need a voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG), an X-ray of your child’s bladder and urethra.

Remarkable Care for Kids

  • Multidisciplinary care: Pediatricians and pediatric nephrologists at Rush University Children’s Hospital will work with you, your child and each other to get to the root of your child’s recurring urinary tract and/or bladder infections or hydronephrosis (distension of the kidney with urine). 
  • Kid-friendly care: Getting medical tests can be scary for kids. Your child’s care team at Rush University Children’s Hospital will provide compassionate care so you and your child can feel at ease while in a medical setting or hospital environment.

What is a voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG)?

A VCUG can help your child’s care team determine the underlying cause of your child’s recurring bladder or urinary tract infections, including vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) — a condition where urine flows backward from the bladder into the ureters or kidneys.

During the test, a dye is added through a catheter placed in the urethra fills your child’s bladder so your child’s clinician can see the shape of the bladder. Your child’s clinician can determine backward flow of urine from the bladder to the kidney by watching the movement of the dye. An X-ray technician will take the X-rays once your child’s bladder is full, after the catheter has been removed, and while your child urinates.

Does my child need VCUG?

Your child’s pediatrician or a pediatric nephrologist may recommend a VCUG if your child has experienced multiple urinary tract or bladder infections. Other reasons for recommending the test include the following:

  • If your child struggles to empty their bladder while urinating
  • If your child’s physician suspects bladder or urethra birth defects
  • To diagnose or rule out urethral stricture, an abnormal narrowing of the urethra (more common in boys)
  • To diagnose or rule out urinary reflux from the bladder up into the kidney