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Intravenous Pyelogram

What is it?

Intravenous pyelogram (IVP) is an X-ray examination of the kidneys, ureters, and urinary bladder that provides information about the structure and function of the urinary tract. The test uses a contrast substance that passes through the urinary tract and makes these organs show more clearly on X-rays.

A person having an IVP exam lies on a large, flat table. The X-ray tube is on the end of a large, jointed “arm” above the table, so the X-ray machine can be positioned precisely. The contrast solution is injected with a needle, and a series of X-ray pictures are taken. The test usually takes about an hour.

Who needs it?

An IVP study can be used to find the cause of a wide variety of disorders, including frequent urination, blood in the urine, or pain in the side or lower back (the location of the kidneys). IVP can reveal kidney stones; an enlarged prostate; internal injuries after an accident or trauma; tumors in the kidney, ureters, or urinary bladder; and other problems in the urinary tract.

IVP studies must be ordered by a physician.