Retrograde urethrography is used, in combination with a doctor's observation and other tests, to establish a diagnosis for individuals, almost exclusively men, who may have structural problems of the urethra.
The doctor should be made aware of any previous history of reactions to shellfish, iodine, or any iodine-containing foods or dyes. An earlier allergic reaction during a dye study is not necessarily something that makes the test inadvisable (a contraindication) as no dye is injected into the bloodstream for this study. Other conditions that should be considered by the physician before the test is done include pregnancy, recent urethral surgery, or severe inflammation of the urethra, bladder, or prostate.
The urethra is first visually examined by the doctor, and the opening is cleansed with an antiseptic solution. A flexible rubber or plastic catheter is then inserted into the urethra, and dye is injected into the catheter. A clamp is applied to hold the dye in place while x-ray pictures are taken of the urethral structure. The clamp and catheter are then removed. The procedure takes approximately 15 minutes. However, the patient may be asked to wait while films are developed, which also permits the patient to be observed for any immediate side effects from the dye. The test may be performed in a hospital, doctor's office, outpatient center, or freestanding surgical facility. The time involved for reporting of test results to the doctor may vary from a few minutes to a few days.
The patient will be asked to sign a consent form after the risks and benefits of the procedure have been
The presence of no anatomical or functional abnormalities is considered a normal result.
Abnormal findings may indicate:
- congenital abormalities
- fistulas or false passages
- valves, known as "posterior urethral valves"
Barker, L. Randol, John R. Burton, and Philip D. Zieve, eds. Principles of Ambulatory Medicine. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1991.
Lerner, Judith, and Zafar Khan. Mosby's Manual of Urologic Nursing. St. Louis: The C. V. Mosby Co., 1982.
American Kidney Fund. 6110 Executive Boulevard, Rockville, MD 20852. (800) 638-8299. <http://220.127.116.11/Default.htm>.
National Kidney Foundation. 30 East 33rd St., New York, NY 10016. (800) 622-9010. <http://www.kidney.org>.
National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearing-house (NKUDIC). 3 Information Way, Bethesda, MD 20892-3580. (800) 891-5388. <http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health/urolog/pubs/kuorg/kuorg.htm>.
"Retrograde Urethrography." ThriveOnline. 28 Mar. 1998 <http://thriveonline.oxygen.com>.
Kathleen D. Wright, RN
Bladder—The balloonlike organ in the lower abdomen that holds urine.
Catheter—Tube used to inject into or withdraw fluids from the bladder.
Renal—Relating to the kidneys, from the Latin word for kidneys, renes.
Urethra—Tube that carries the urine from the bladder out of the body.
Visualization—The process of making an internal organ visible. A radiopaque subtance is introduced into the body, then an x-ray picture of the desired organ is taken.