Images are made using a CT-scan (CT urography) or x-rays (intravenous urography, or IVU). CT urography is the most accurate imaging technique for diagnosing dieases in the urinary tract. IVU can be used if a CT-scan is not available; however, IVU cannot show abnormal cell growth (tumours) that is small or on the surface. Also, it is not recommended for detecting cancer cells that have spread to the lymph nodes or neighbouring organs.
For this test, a dye called a contrast agent is injected into the body through a vein, usually in the arm. The kidneys pass the dye into the urinary tract, which makes the ureters and bladder more visible. Then a CT-scan or an x-ray of the abdomen is taken. The scan takes approximately 10 minutes and is non-invasive, so no instruments are inserted into your body.
The intravenous dye may cause an allergic reaction, so your doctor will ask you about any allergies. A blood sample will also be taken before the CT-scan to check your kidney function. Your kidneys must work normally for urography. If you take antidiabetic medications, your doctor might ask you to stop taking them for a few days.
If urography detects a tumour in the urinary tract, your doctor will recommend a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. The biopsy is a surgical procedure to remove a small piece of tissue for further examination.