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X-Ray Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP)

An Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP) is an x-ray examination of the kidneys, ureters and urinary bladder that uses iodinated contrast material injected into veins.

Your doctor may recommend an IVP examination to assess abnormalities in the urinary system, as well as how quickly and efficiently the patient's system is able to handle waste. The exam is used to help diagnose symptoms such as blood in the urine or pain in the side or lower back. The IVP exam can enable the radiologist to detect problems within the urinary tract resulting from kidney stones, an enlarged prostate, or even tumors in the kidney, ureters or urinary bladder.

An IVP is usually done on an outpatient basis. The patient is positioned on the table and still x-ray images are taken. The contrast material is then injected, usually in a vein in the patient's arm, followed by additional still images. The patient must hold very still and may be asked to keep from breathing for a few seconds while the x-ray picture is taken to reduce the possibility of a blurred image. As the contrast material is processed by the kidneys, a series of images are taken to determine the actual size of the kidneys and to capture the urinary tract in action as it begins to empty. The technologist may apply a compression band around the body to better visualize the urinary structures leading from the kidney. When the examination is complete, the patient will be asked to wait until the radiologist determines that all the necessary images have been obtained. An IVP study is usually completed within an hour. However, because some kidneys empty at a slower rate the exam may last up to four hours.

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Low dose radiation produces internal images.

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