Radiology (Xray)

Retrograde Urethrography

X-ray Appointments RVI: (0191) 282 4330; Freeman Hospital: (0191) 223 1012

What is a retrograde urethrogram?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • A retrograde urethrogram is an x-ray examination of the urethra for men, which cannot be seen on a normal x-ray. The urethra is the tube which carries urine from the bladder to outside the body.  A clear fluid or x-ray dye is used to outline the urethra so that it may be examined using x-rays.

Why do I need a retrograde urethrogram?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • This examination will help your doctor to make a correct diagnosis or decision about your treatment. You may be having an urethrogram to check for any problems, such as difficulty urinating, or it may be a follow-up examination after an operation. If you have any questions about the exam, please contact your referring doctor.

Who performs the retrograde urethrogram?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • The examination will be performed by a radiologist (medical doctor who specialises in interpreting diagnostic imaging).  The radiologist will explain what happens and will show you what to do.

Do I need any special preparation before the examination?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • No.  You can eat and drink as normal and take all of your regular medication.

What does the examination involve?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • You will be asked to undress and put on a hospital gown.
  • You will then be asked to lie on the examination couch and the procedure will be explained.
  • A small plastic tube called a catheter is inserted into the tip of the penis and a small balloon may be inflated to keep the catheter in position. 
  • The x-ray dye is put into the urethra and you may be asked to lie in different positions.
  • Occasionally, depending on what your doctor is investigating, we may fill your bladder up with the x-ray dye using the catheter to get further images when you pass urine.
  • When the examination is complete, the x-ray catheter is removed and you may go home or return to your ward.

How long will it take?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • The examination usually takes about 30 minutes.

How does it feel?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • You may feel a little discomfort as the catheter is inserted and a feeling of fullness in the urethra as the x-ray dye is introduced – this should not last long.

Are there any side effects?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • No.

What are the benefits of having a retrograde urethrogram?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • This procedure will help us make the correct diagnosis so we can give you the correct treatment.

What are the risks of having a retrograde urethrogram?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • We are all exposed to natural background radiation every day of our lives. Each x-ray examination gives us a small additional dose. This dose varies with each type of examination. Everything is done within the x-ray department to minimise this dose.
  • This test is carried out using sterile equipment which carries very little risk of infection. Often these tests can be repeated after surgery if needed.

When will I get the results?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • A report will be sent to the consultant or GP who requested the procedure within two weeks of your examination. If you are attending from one of the wards the radiologist will speak directly to the team looking after you once the test is finished.

Can I drive home?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • There is usually no reason why you should not drive home.

I need an ambulance/ transport. Do you arrange it?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • If you need an ambulance/ transport, you should ask your GP surgery to arrange it. You will need to give them three working days’ notice.  Please note that hospital transport is provided on medical need only.

What if I cannot attend for my appointment? Show [+]Hide [-]

  • If your appointment time is not convenient please contact the hospital department so that a more appropriate time can be arranged.  This will enable us to reallocate valuable scanning time to someone else:
  • RVI X-ray Appointments               0191 282 4330 (Monday to Friday 8.30am-5.00pm)
  • Freeman X-ray Appointments     0191 223 1012 (Monday to Friday 8.30am-5.00pm)

What if I have any comments, suggestions or complaints?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • Should you have any suggestions or concerns, please make these known to the person conducting your examination or by letter addressed to the hospital that you are attending your examination:
  • The Departmental Manager, X-ray Department, Level 3, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Queen Victoria Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4LP
  • The Departmental Manager, Main X-ray Department, Freeman Hospital, High Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE7 7DN
  • Tel: 0191 282 1099
  • Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.00pm
  • All Newcastle Hospitals: Switchboard tel: 0191 233 6161 (24 hours)
  • The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) can offer on-the-spot advice and information about the NHS. You can contact them on freephone 0800 032 02 02 or email
  • Information produced by Dr A McNeill, Consultant Radiologist and P Hughes, Senior Radiographer

Diagnostic Imaging DatasetShow [+]Hide [-]

  • Information from your diagnostic test will contribute to the Diagnostic Imaging Dataset. 
  • The Diagnostic Imaging Dataset (DID) is a database that holds information on the imaging tests and scans carried out on NHS patients. This will allow the Health and Social Care Information Centre to see how different tests are used across the country.
  • Nothing will ever be reported that identifies you.  All information is stored securely. It is only made available to appropriate staff, and is kept strictly confidential. However, if you do not want your information to be stored in the DID, please tell the people who are treating you. They will make sure your information is not copied into the DID.
  • You may, at a later date, still decide to opt out.  Please contact the Health and Social Care Information Centre directly, their contact details are:
  • Telephone: 0845 300 6016 
  • Email: 
  • Website:
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