What is Urethography?

It is a radiological examination to diagnose pathological conditions of the urethra. During the test, a contrast medium is infused through the urethra while X-rays are taken at the same time. X-rays are made with the use of an external radiation apparatus to produce images of body organs on a special film   When contrast medium is infused through the urethral orifice with the use of a catheter, the test is called ‘Ascending Urethrogram’. When the test takes place during the urination phase, it is called 'Descending Urethrogram'.

When is Urethrography performed?

The physician may recommend a Urethrogram:

  • in case of urethral injury (usually with presence of blood).
  • when there are symptoms that might originate from urethral stricture, e.g. urinary frequency, decreased caliber (small diameter) of urinary stream.
  • to evaluate the outcome following some urethral surgical procedure.

What preparation is needed for Urethrography?

No special preparation is usually needed. You should always inform your physician if you are allergic to specific contrast media and drugs. Although the contrast medium is infused intravenously (i.v.), in some cases –when considered necessary- some pharmaceutical regimen may be administered in advance to protect you from a potentially occurring allergic reaction. Also, in case you suffer from an active urinary tract infection (UTI), you should not undergo the examination.

In Urethrography, there is radiation. In case of pregnancy, you should always inform your physician.

How is Urethrography performed?

You may need to undergo a Urethrogram either as an outpatient or as a hospital inpatient. Your physician will explain the procedure and answer any questions related to the test you may potentially have. The procedure is as follows:

  • You will be asked to take off clothes, jewellery, belts or other objects from the abdominal region that might affect the procedure.
  • You may be asked to stand upright or lie in the supine position (on your back) on a special radiology table.
  • A device producing X-rays will be placed in front of the genital region, while a sheath containing a special tape including the film will be positioned behind your back.
  • In Ascending Urethrography, your physician will infuse contrast medium into your bladder through a special catheter that will be placed to the outer urethral orifice During this phase, X-rays will be taken at regular time intervals. This procedure may be a little inconvenient. Pain though is well tolerable, since proper preparation has preceded.
  • In Descending Urethrography, a urinary catheter will be placed to your bladder to fill up the bladder with a solution containing contrast medium and then the catheter is removed. You will be asked to urinate, while X-rays will be taken at regular time intervals.
  • Once the test procedure is completed, you can get dressed and leave the lab.

Following Urethrography, you can right away resume to your everyday activities without any restrictions.  You should be aware that there may occur some dysuria for about 24 hours, while in some cases there might also appear small blood output from the urethra. 

How are the results of Urethrography interpreted?

Should there be any abnormal finding, the physician will inform you about this. You will be given further instructions and information about therapeutic options that are appropriate for you. Should there be any doubt, you may be recommended to undergo more specific screening (e.g. Cystoscopy).