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Intravenous pyelogram (IVP)

An intravenous pyelogram (IVP) uses a special dye, called a contrast material, and a sequence of quickly captured X-ray pictures to show your doctor how your kidneys and urinary system are working. The contrast material is injected through a needle placed into a vein in your arm. As the contrast material circulates through your body, it outlines your kidneys, bladder and other urinary structures so they will show up clearly in the pictures. An IVP allows your doctor to detect problems resulting from kidney stones, an enlarged prostate, tumors and other abnormal conditions.

What to expect during your test or treatment

  • Your technologist will take you to a special room where the pictures will be taken, and you will be asked to change into a hospital gown.
  • You will be positioned on a large X-ray table, and a series of X-rays will be taken of your urinary system.
  • An IV needle will then be inserted into a vein in your arm, and a contrast material containing iodine will be injected through the IV needle.
  • You may feel a minor sting or a warm feeling as the contrast material begins to circulate into your body. These feelings are normal and should only last for a few minutes.
  • A second series of X-rays will be taken after the contrast material has been injected.
  • You may be asked to turn from side to side and to hold different positions during your test.
  • Near the end of the test, you may be asked to empty your bladder before the final pictures are taken.
  • A typical IVP test usually lasts about one hour. However, all kidneys empty at different rates, so the test can range from 30 minutes to three or four hours.

What to expect after your test or treatment

  • You may resume normal activities immediately.
  • Drinking plenty of fluids will help flush the contrast material from your system.
  • A radiologist will analyze the pictures and send a report to your doctor.
  • Your doctor will schedule a time to discuss the results of your test with you.

Returning home
If you have any questions after returning home, please contact your physician.

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