Intravenous Pyelogram

An intravenous pyelogram is an X-ray examination of the urinary tract which detects diseases of the kidneys, ureters and bladder. To visualize these soft tissue structures, a substance called a contrast material will be used. This is sometimes referred to as X-ray dye. The technologist performing the examination will ask you to give your medical history and to tell us of any known allergies to medications so we can determine the proper contrast material to be used. The procedure usually takes less than one hour.

Exam Preparation

You will be given instructions similar to the following by your physician prior to the examination:

  • The day before your scheduled examination, eat and drink only clear liquids and take laxatives if directed.
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your examination.
  • Any woman who thinks she may be pregnant should inform her doctor before scheduling this examination.
  • Prescribed medication may be taken prior to the examination.
  • Please check in at Central Registration in the Main Lobby before reporting to the Radiology Department if you have not been preregistered over the phone.

During the Exam

You will be asked to remove your clothing and put on a gown. You will be positioned on the X-ray table and the X-ray equipment will be positioned above you.

A few X-rays will be taken prior to the injection of a contrast material. It is commonly injected into a vein in your arm. If you feel any discomfort during or after the injection, please notify the technologist. Time-delayed X-rays will be taken after the injection, as the contrast material travels through your urinary system.

Near the end of the examination, you may be asked to empty your bladder and another X-ray may be taken.

After this procedure you may resume normal activities.


Once the examination is completed, the X-rays will be studied by a radiologist and compared to any available prior X-rays of this same area. A report of the findings will be sent to your physician.