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Preparing for a Voiding Cystourethrogram (VCUG)

A voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG) is a procedure that takes special pictures of a child’s bladder, kidneys and urinary tract.

Child Life Can Help

If you are concerned about how to discuss any of this with your child, Child Life Specialists at HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital can help. They are trained to teach children and families the skills it takes to cope with a hospitalization. During procedures, Child Life Specialists can help children and families prepare for the experience by using medical play, age-appropriate explanations and comfort measures. If you are interested in speaking or meeting with a Child Life Specialist, call 920-433-8641 or notify your child’s doctor. 

A tiny catheter will be placed in order to fill your child’s bladder with a contrast liquid. This helps us get the best pictures of what’s going on inside his/her bladder while it’s filling and as your child urinates (pees). Once the catheter is inserted, the rest of the procedure is normally painless.

We understand this procedure can be difficult for some children. Therefore, we can offer your child the option of sedation. He/she will have restrictions on eating and drinking, which we will call you to explain in more detail 24 to 72 hours before you arrive.
The day of your child’s VCUG procedure, you will register on first floor where you and your child will be admitted and taken to your child’s room.

A Child Life Specialist and a nurse will meet with you and your child in your room to get you settled and explain and make sure you understand the VCUG process. Child Life Specialists are trained in helping children cope with procedures through the use of preparation, distraction and support, while the nurse will be there to get your child’s medical history, further help explain the procedure and place the catheter for the VCUG. The Child Life Specialist will also give an age appropriate explanation of the catheter placement and VCUG to your child using a medical doll and medical supplies.
  • The nurse may administer numbing jelly where the catheter will be placed. If your child appears highly anxious with the numbing placement and preparation, we can evaluate your child for the use of sedation options for the catheter placement. If sedation is required:
    • Our pediatric sedation team, a specially trained physician and nurse, will evaluate your child to decide the best choice for sedation.
    • Throughout the procedure, the sedation team will closely monitor your child’s vital signs including blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory status.
  • After the catheter is placed, the Child Life Specialist may accompany you and your child down to the radiology department, where the VCUG takes place.
  • After the VCUG is done, you and your child can leave the hospital. If your child receives sedation, the team will bring you and your child back up to your room and continue to monitor your child until he/she is ready for discharge – this takes approximately one hour.