Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP)

An IVP (Intravenous Pyelogram) is an x-ray examination of the urinary tract (kidneys, ureters and bladder) that shows the size and shape of these organs. This procedure also gives an indication of the function of the organs.  There are various reasons for the procedure, your doctor would need to explain why it is necessary for you.

The Procedure

  • A member of staff will explain the procedure and answer any questions that you may have.
  • You will be taken to a change room where you will be asked to remove some clothing and put on an x-ray gown.
  • Preliminary x-rays are taken and then a member of staff will give you an injection of contrast (x-ray contrast) into a vein. The contrast is a colourless liquid, it circulates in the blood and is filtered out by the kidneys and can be seen on the x-rays that are taken during the examination.
  • A wide band is often placed across your abdomen for the first part of the examination. This helps to concentrate the contrast in the kidneys to provide clear detail.
  • X-rays are taken at regular intervals to assess the efficiency and function of the kidneys. As the kidneys move when you breathe you will be required to briefly hold your breath when the x-rays are taken.
  • Before the examination is finished you will be asked to empty your bladder and one final x-ray is taken.
  • The procedure can take up to 2.5 hours to complete.


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