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Test Details
Test Code:RA0028
Test Name:X- Ray Micturating cystourethrogram (MCU)
Test Details & Preparation
A Micturating Cysto-urethrogram (or MCU) is a study using X-rays that shows the bladder and urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder and out of the body) while passing urine.

The test is performed to find out if the urine goes from the bladder back up to the kidneys instead of out through the urethra, known as vesico-ureteric reflux (VUR). This can be the cause of recurrent urinary tract (in the bladder or kidneys) infection and kidney damage. The test also shows how the bladder empties and what the urethra looks like.

This test is most commonly performed on children under six months of age, but can be used less commonly as an investigation for older children and adults with multiple recurrent urinary tract infections.

No special preparation is required, but your child should be dressed in clothing that can be easily removed from the waist down. If your child is old enough to have some understanding of what is happening, talking about the study with your child before the test should help to reduce his or her anxiety. A Micturating Cysto-urethrogram is performed on children who are 6 months or younger and can be performed without too much stress for the child or carer.

When your child attends for the study, a doctor or nurse will first use an antiseptic (cleaning) solution to clean around the urethra. For boys this involves washing the penis and scrotum and for girls involves washing the perineum between the inner thighs. A small plastic catheter (thin plastic tube) is inserted carefully into the bladder through the urethra using a lubricant. This can be uncomfortable for the brief time during insertion of the catheter. If older children are not cooperative this can be done with sedation or as part of a general anaesthetic.

Once the catheter has been inserted, a liquid containing Iodine (which shows up on the X-rays to provide a clear image or picture of the area) is then dripped through the catheter and into the bladder so that the bladder can be seen on the X-ray images. Your child may be rolled slightly onto the left and/or right side to show different parts of the bladder or urethra. Once the bladder is filled, your child will be asked to empty their bladder while X-ray images are being taken to show how the urethra is working. For children who are too young to follow this instruction, the bladder empties naturally when it is full and the necessary pictures can be taken while this is happening.

This investigation is usually performed to see if urine passes from the bladder up to the kidneys instead of out through the urethra, referred to as vesico-ureteric reflux or VUR.

A Micturating Cysto-urethrogram usually takes 5-10 minutes to explain and prepare your child for the study. Very young children can have the procedure performed in a few minutes but older children with voluntary bladder control may take over thirty minutes.
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