CT devices and x-rays to take images from different angles, which are used to obtain complete cross-sectional images of the urogenital system.
CT urography uses X-rays to generate multiple images of the part of the body being studied, including bones, soft tissues and blood vessels. These images are then sent to a computer and quickly reconstructed into highly detailed, 2-D images.
What is CT urography
CT urography is a non-invasive radiological diagnostic method for scanning the organs of the urinary tract, which consist of: kidneys, ureters that transmit urine from the kidneys to the bladder and the urinary bladder.
CT urography (CTU) is used as the primary imaging technique to assess patients with blood in the urine (hematuria), suspected stone (low-dose CT according to the nephrolithiasis protocol), monitoring patients with a history of urinary tract cancer, and detecting abnormalities in patients with relapsed urinary tract infections. In addition to imaging the urinary tract, CT urography can provide valuable information about other abdominal and pelvic diseases that may affect them.
Why urography is performed
A CT urogram is used to examine the kidneys, ureters and bladder. It allows the doctor to see the size and shape of these structures to determine if they are working properly and to look for any signs of disease that may affect your urinary system.
Your doctor may recommend a CT scan if you have signs and symptoms – such as pain in your hips or back or blood in your urine (hematuria) – that may be related to a urinary tract disorder.
A CT urogram can be used to diagnose conditions that affect the urinary tract, such as:
- Kidney stone
- Bladder stones
- Tumors or cysts
- Structural abnormalities
CT uses “X” rays, which means that you will receive a certain dose of radiation, which is why this is not a routine method, and we do this examination only if you are referred by a urologist or nephrologist with a strictly defined indication.
CT urography is performed after injection of intravenous contrast material to obtain images of the urinary system. During CT urography, an X-ray colour (iodine-based contrast agent) is injected into a vein in your arm or hand. The dye flows into the kidneys, ureters and bladder, outlining each of these structures. X-rays are taken at a specific time during the examination, so that your doctor can clearly see your urinary tract and assess how well it is working or look for any abnormalities.
Preparation for urography
Before a CT urography scan, tell your doctor if:
- You have any allergies, especially to iodine
- Are you pregnant or think you may be pregnant
- You have had a previous serious reaction to X-rays colours
- You are taking any medicines, such as biguanide, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), anti-rejection medicines or antibiotics
- You have an illness
- You have impaired health, including heart disease, asthma, diabetes, kidney disease or a previous organ transplant
To dilate your bladder, you will be asked to drink water before a CT scan and not to urinate until the procedure is complete. However, depending on your condition, eating and drinking guidelines before a CT scan may vary.
Before the CT scan, our staff will ask questions about your medical history, check your blood pressure, pulse and body temperature, and ask you to change into a hospital gown and remove jewelry, eyeglasses, and any metal objects that may obscure X-rays.
For a CT urogram, you usually lie on your back on a recording table, although you may be asked to lie on your side or stomach. Belts and pillows can be used to help you maintain proper posture and stay calm during the scan. You will be asked to change position during a CT scan.
The IV line will be placed in a vein on your hand or arm through which X-rays colour will be injected. When the contrast is injected, you can feel redness, a feeling of warmth, and a metallic taste may appear in the mouth for a minute or two. Becasue of the contrast material, it may briefly feel like you have to urinate.
Before the test begins, the table will move quickly through the scanner to determine the correct starting position for the scan. For your actual CT urogram, the table will move slowly through the machine as the images are taken. If necessary, the machine can make several additions.
You will hear a slight buzzing and clicking as the machine takes pictures. To prevent the images from blurring, we will ask you to hold your breath for a few seconds during the scan.
After completing the CT urogram, you will be asked to wait until the X-ray technician ensures that the images are of sufficient quality for accurate diagnosis.
After CT urography
After the scan is complete, your CT urogram is ready, the intravenous line is removed from your arm and the entry point is covered with gauze. You can then return to your normal activities.
During CT urograms, there is a small risk of an allergic reaction if contrast material is injected. Reactions are generally mild and easily remedied with medication. That includes:
- Feeling of heat or redness
- Pain near the puncture site
A single CT urogram does not carry the risk of developing secondary malignancy, but multiple tests or radiation exposure may cause a slightly higher risk of cancer compared to the general population. However, the benefits of an accurate diagnosis far outweigh this risk.
If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, tell your doctor before having a CT scan. Although the risk to the unborn baby is small, the doctor may consider whether it is better to wait or use another imaging test.
CT scan results
A doctor who specializes in reading CT scans (radiologists) will examine and interpret the X-rays from your CT urogram and write a report. Plan to discuss the results with doctor who referred you to the scanner.
CT urography costs
Price for the CT urography is 21,000 dinars, whether it is done with a contrast agent or without it.