A retrograde cystogram is a procedure allowing the bladder to be X-rayed after it is filled with X-ray dye.

It is commonly used to assess if the bladder has healed after surgery. The bladder is carefully filled with X-ray dye using a urinary catheter inserted in the urethra or in some cases the patient may already have a surgically inserted suprapubic catheter.

Retrograde cystograms are performed by a Radiologist with a Radiographer and occasionally a nurse present. The study will be reported by a radiologist and the results sent to your doctor.

This procedure is available at the following Dr Jones & Partners locations:


You will be provided an examination gown to wear and asked to remove your clothing in a cubicle that has an ensuite bathroom.

You will be asked to lie on your back on an X-ray table.

If you already have a urinary catheter it will be used for the test. A new catheter is not needed. If you do not already have a urinary catheter a specialist nurse or Radiologist will need to put one in.

To insert a urinary catheter the nurse or radiologist will begin by gently cleaning the genital area with a specific antiseptic wash. A sterile drape is used to cover your groin and surrounding area. A small amount of anaesthetic gel is applied to the urethral opening to minimise discomfort. A urinary catheter is then inserted in the tip of the urethra until it reaches the bladder. A small balloon is inflated to hold it in place.

The catheter bag will be removed and a syringe or drip line that is filled with X-ray dye is connected. The Radiologist will fill the bladder gently to a point until you start to feel full. X-rays are taken as the bladder is filled. Once there is sufficient dye in the bladder the Radiologist and Radiographer will ask you move into various positions to assess your bladder on X-ray at different angles. Once all the X-rays are taken, the dye is drained via the syringe or drip bottle. The catheter bag is then reconnected.

Risks / Side Effects

Retrograde cystograms are very safe.

In some cases a small amount of blood may be seen in the urine after the procedure. If this continues for greater than 24 hours consult your referring Doctor.

There is a small risk of urinary tract infection. This risk is minimised by performing the procedure under sterile conditions.

Before your Scan

No specific preparation is required. You are free to eat and drink before and after the procedure. If you are on any special medication or have diabetes and are on insulin, take your usual medication and diet.

Please inform us if you are on medication to thin your blood (eg. Warfarin, Aspirin or Clopidogrel), have an iodine allergy or are pregnant.

Other Information

After the procedure the radiographer will usher you to an adjoining rest room where you will able to go to the toilet as well as provided towels to freshen up.