People suspected of urological disease often pose a diagnostic challenge to doctors. In past decades, the diagnosis relied on their clinical judgment, urinalysis and x-rays. The role of the traditional Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP), once considered the standard of care for imaging people with urologic disease, has diminished.

Computed Tomography (CT) has assumed the diagnostic role as the primary urologic imaging modality. After intravenous contrast material is administered, CT urography uses CT images to obtain images of the urinary tract.

CT urography is used as the primary imaging technique in the evaluation of hematuria, which is blood in the urine, to follow patients with prior history of cancers of the urinary collecting system and to identify abnormalities in patients with recurrent urinary tract infections.

In addition to imaging the urinary tract, CT urography can provide valuable information about other abdominal and pelvic structures, and diseases that may affect them.

When would I get a CT Urography?

Urography images are used to evaluate issues or detect abnormalities in portions of the urinary tract, including the kidneys, bladder and ureters, including:

  • hematuria (blood in urine)
  • kidney or bladder stones
  • cancers of the urinary tract.

What Will I Experience?

CT exams are generally painless, fast and easy. When you are positioned into the CT scanner, you may see special light lines projected onto your body. These lines are used to ensure that you are properly positioned. You may hear slight buzzing, clicking and whirring sounds. These occur as the CT scanner's internal parts, not usually visible to you, revolve around you during the imaging process.

These internal parts, consisting of several x-ray beams and electronic x-ray detectors, measure the amount of radiation being absorbed throughout your body. The exam table may move during the scan so that the x-ray beam follows a spiral path. Computer software will process large volumes of data to create two-dimensional cross-sectional images of your body.

These images are then displayed on a monitor. CT imaging is sometimes compared to looking into a loaf of bread by cutting the loaf into thin slices. When the image slices are reassembled by computer software, the result is a very detailed multidimensional view of the body's interior.

Typically, a CT urogram will take about 15 to 30 minutes, including the time for intravenous preparation and interview. In some cases additional scanning is required as scans are tailored to suit individual diagnostic needs.