Intravenous Pyelogram

An intravenous pyelogram (IVP) is a diagnostic X-ray examination of the kidneys, ureters, urethra and bladder, and is used to detect abnormalities that include kidney stones and tumors. IVP provides clear, detailed images of these organs in order to diagnose and treat conditions without the need for invasive surgery.

Purpose of an Intravenous Pyelogram

An intravenous pyelogram is used to diagnose conditions that include the following:

  • Tumors
  • Kidney or bladder stones
  • Kidney cysts
  • Bladder and kidney infections
  • Blood in the urine
  • Injury in the abdominal area
  • Structural kidney disorders

IVP is also a helpful diagnostic tool for identifying some urinary tract disorders, and evaluating urinary tract obstructions.

The Intravenous Pyelogram Procedure

The patient may be injected with contrast dye to see how the kidney-filtering process is working, and how the dye collects in the urine.

During IVP, initial X-ray images are taken before a contrast material is injected in a vein in the patient's arm. Another set of images is then taken; the patient must remain very still to prevent them from blurring. The entire procedure takes about an hour to perform on an outpatient basis.

Complications of an Intravenous Pyelogram

Patients can return home shortly after the procedure, but they may experience itching, swelling, and bruising at the site of the needle placement. Another possible complication is an allergic reaction to the contrast dye.

A woman who is pregnant or breastfeeding should consult with her doctor prior to having IVP. For most patients, there are no side effects associated with IVP.

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