Services » Paediatric Micturating Cystourethrogram (MCU)
Paediatric Micturating Cystourethrogram (MCU)
This X-ray examination of your child's bladder will be performed by a technologist who is an expert in the use of X-ray equipment and a radiologist, who is a doctor specialising in medical diagnosis using X-rays.
This checks whether your child's urinary tract is working properly. It is important that you understand what the test involves so that you can explain to your child as simply as possible what will happen.
Available from St George's Radiology.
Usually no preparation is required. Some children may require sedation before the study. These children should not have anything to eat or drink two hours before the test.
Take with you some toys, spare nappies and a bottle or cup of drink for afterwards. Some stories to read may also be useful.
Tell your child a day or two beforehand that they are going to have some special photos taken of their tummy, that they will need to lie very still on a special X-ray bed while the photos are being taken but that you or someone else they know will be staying with them all the time.
MCU (Micturating Cystourethrogram)
Before you have the test will meet the radiologist (the X-ray doctor) and the radiographer.
During the procedure it is important that someone your child trusts stays with them. Usually this would be the child's parent but if you are unable to do this then arrange for another relation or friend to stay with your child and you.
Your reassuring voice and some small toy or other novelty to use as a distraction will be helpful to your child. Older children will co-operate and so do not need to be restrained.
The Radiologist will gently wash around the child's genital area with warm water before inserting a catheter. Some gel is put on the catheter tube to help it slide gently into the urethra. Naturally many children and parents are anxious about this part of the procedure and it may feel uncomfortable. Older children may feel embarrassed. Our staff will understand if your child protests by crying and will do their best to ensure the procedure is done as smoothly and as quickly as possible. Again, your calm voice encouraging your child to relax and reassuring that he/she is doing well is very helpful.
A special contrast liquid is run into the catheter until it fills the bladder. Some children will be reluctant to wee lying down on the X - ray table. They need to know that it is okay for them to do this and it does not matter if their clothes get a little wet.
The amount of radiation your child is exposed to is very small and carefully controlled. X-ray pictures are taken as the child passes urine. These show if the urine is going back up into the kidneys or if there is an unusual path for the urine.
The Radiologist will tell you if they have found anything unusual. Your child will welcome a nice cuddle and lots of praise for doing well.
With the MCU test there may occasionally be a tiny bit of bleeding or stinging from the urethra.