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If you have problems with your urinary tract, your consultant may order an intravenous pyelogram (IVP).

What is an intravenous pyelogram?

An intravenous pyelogram (IVP) is an X-ray examination using contrast dye to examine your urinary tract.

Your urinary tract includes your kidneys, bladder, ureters (tubes that carry urine from your kidneys to your bladder) and urethra (tube that carries urine out of your body). Since these areas don't show up on a standard X-ray, the contrast dye clearly highlights the area for close examination.

Is an intravenous pyelogram right for me?

You may be recommended an IVP if:

What happens during intravenous pyelogram?

An IVP can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours, depending on what condition is being diagnosed.

Before the scan

You may be asked not to eat anything for several hours before your IVP so that the images will be very clear.

You'll need to wear a hospital gown. The radiologist will help get you in position on a couch.

During the scan

  1. A tiny tube with a needle at the end (called a cannula) will be inserted in the back of your hand or in your arm
  2. Contract dye will be injected through this tube. It may sting a bit at first and some patients feel a bit flushed, or have a metallic taste in their mouth. These symptoms should ease very quickly
  3. The radiologist will take a series of images as the dye flows through your urinary tract. 
  4. You may be asked to turn on your side. And in some cases you may be asked to empty your bladder before the last image is taken.

After the scan

Once all the images are taken, you many need to wait for the radiologist to confirm they have everything needed to complete your diagnosis.

You can return to normal activities immediately after your IVP.

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