Children's Hospital Colorado

Urology Tests and Services

At Children’s Hospital Colorado, we treat the big things, the small things and everything in between.

Best Children's Hospital by U.S. News & World Report Urology 2021-2 Badge


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The right treatment starts with the right testing and diagnosis. That is why the Department of Pediatric Urology at Children’s Hospital Colorado utilizes a range of technology, tests and services to obtain accurate results quickly. Our pediatric urologists use a variety of tests to diagnose and treat bladder and urology conditions in children. We explain these procedures to each child and family to help put them at ease and to make each child feel as safe and comfortable as possible during the test.

Urologic diagnostic tests

Kidney, ureter and bladder (KUB) X-ray

This test is generally used to view stool in the intestines. This is a non-invasive test, so no special preparation is needed. The test typically takes less than one minute to perform, and the results will be available immediately for your child’s doctor to review. The position of your child during the test may vary, but usually they will be lying down.

Uroflow test

A uroflow test measures the flow rate, pattern and volume of the urine stream. Our healthcare providers perform this test in a private exam room. Your child will urinate into a special toilet that electronically measures the flow and force of the urine stream. Your child’s doctor will review these results and use them to help create a care plan for your child’s bladder habits.

Bladder scan using ultrasound

A bladder scan is a non-invasive portable ultrasound instrument that measures post-void residual (PVR). PVR is the amount of urine left in the bladder after urination. The sonographer places a small wand (transducer) directly on your child’s skin with ultrasound gel to create the images. Then a radiologist reviews the results and consults with your child’s doctor, who determines the next steps. The test requires no special preparation, is not painful, and generally lasts about 30 seconds. Your child’s doctor will use the test results to determine if your child is fully emptying their bladder after urinating.

Urodynamics test

This test assesses the function of the urinary system in children who are unable to control urination. Some conditions that can cause this problem include spina bifida, spinal cord injury, urinary tract anomalies or VACTERL syndrome. VACTERL stands for vertebral defects, anal atresia, cardiac defects, trachea-esophageal fistula, renal anomalies and limb abnormalities.

During this test, the healthcare provider will place very small catheters (tubes) into the bladder and rectum to measure pressure as the bladder fills and empties. Depending on the reason for the study, a special dye may be used to fill your child’s bladder, which then can be seen on X-ray images taken during the test. These pictures of the bladder can help your child’s doctor identify abnormal bladder structure and urine flow. This test may take 30 to 45 minutes to perform. The results from this test can help your child’s doctor diagnose a problem with urine storage or emptying. The doctor will also use the results to develop a unique care plan for your child.

Renal or bladder ultrasound

This is a non-invasive, non-painful test that generates pictures of your child’s kidney and bladder. The healthcare provider will place gel on your child’s back and over their bladder area. The sonographer places a small wand (transducer) on your child’s skin to see the kidneys and bladder. The test is done in the Radiology Department and usually lasts about 20 minutes. The results will be immediately available for your child’s doctor to see.

Voiding cystourethrogram test

A voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG) test is a minimally invasive test that is done to see your child’s internal urinary tract. This test may be used to evaluate urinary problems such as vesicoureteral reflux, posterior urethral valves, dysfunctional voiding and ureteroceles. This test is done in the Radiology Department.

The healthcare provider will place a very small catheter into your child’s bladder through their urethra, and they will fill the bladder with a special dye. Once your child’s bladder is full, the provider will remove the catheter and your child will be able to urinate. During the filling and emptying of the bladder, X-ray pictures will be taken so the doctor can see what your child’s urethra, bladder and kidneys look like. The test typically lasts around 20 minutes and the results will be immediately available for the doctor to see.

MAG 3 renal scan

This is a minimally invasive test that is used to determine the function of your child’s kidney. It is also done to check how well urine is draining from the kidney to the bladder. This test is most commonly used in diagnosing kidney blockage, also known as ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) obstruction.

A healthcare provider will place an IV into your child’s vein and give a special tracer through the IV. This tracer can then be followed as it is filtered by the kidney and drains into the bladder. The test is performed in the Radiology Department and typically takes around one hour. Sometimes younger children need to be sedated because of the time required to lay still during this test.

Urologic procedures

Minimally invasive surgery

Minimally invasive urologic surgery is a method of diagnostic surgery that utilizes fewer and smaller incisions than traditional surgery, along with a camera to ensure precision. Our urologic doctors use this type of surgery to diagnose and treat disorders of the kidney, bladder and other organs in the abdominal cavity.

Pelvic floor physical therapy

Pelvic floor physical therapy helps teach children that have difficulty controlling their bladder and bowels how to contract and relax their pelvic floor muscles. The goal of the therapy is to help your child have better control over when they go to the bathroom.

Mitrofanoff procedure

The Mitrofanoff procedure is a surgical procedure that makes a channel from the outside of your child's abdomen to their bladder using the appendix. Our experts at The International Center for Colorectal and Urogenital Care use this clinic to help children who have trouble draining their bladder, such as those with bladder problems due to spina bifida, bladder exstrophy or bladder blockage.

For more information, on urologic tests, procedures and services, please contact us: Phone: 720-777-3926
Fax: 720-777-7370

Would you like a second opinion?

Any type of surgery for your child is a big decision. Make sure you are getting the best care from a pediatric urology expert before your child goes in for specialized urologic surgery.

Request a second opinion from our Department of Pediatric Urology