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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 is an x-ray examination using contrast dye. Your urinary tract includes your kidneys, ureters (tubes that carry urine from your kidneys to your bladder) bladder and urethra (tube that carries urine out of your body). Since these areas do not show up clearly on a standard x-ray, a contrast dye is used to clearly highlight the area for close examination. An IVP may be recommended if:

What happens during IVP?

An IVP can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours depending on what condition is being diagnosed. You may be asked not to eat anything for several hours before your IVP so that the images will be very clear.

You will need to wear a hospital gown. The radiologist will help get you in position on a couch. 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. Contract dye will be injected through this tube. It may sting a bit at first and some patients feel a bit flushed or warm or have a metallic taste in their mouth. These symptoms should ease very quickly.

The radiologist will take a series of images as the dye flows through your urinary tract. You may be asked to turn on your side. In some cases you may be asked to empty your bladder before the last image is taken.

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

You can return to normal daily activities after your IVP.

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