AUA Summit - What is a Retrograde Urethrogram?


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What is a Retrograde Urethrogram?

This is a diagnostic test for male patients with trauma (injury) to the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder and out the body. If there is a urethral stricture (a block or closing), urine cannot flow out.


This test is done in a hospital radiology unit, operating room, or a provider’s office. It is done by a doctor or an X-ray technician. No special set-up is needed.

You will lie on your back or side, and an x-ray of the urethra and bladder are taken. X-ray contrast agent (dye) is gently moved into your urethra. This may not be comfortable, but it doesn’t take long. More x-rays are taken with the dye to see your urethra more clearly.

After Test

Up to 48 hours later, you may feel discomfort. Your urine may be a little pink. Still, you can return to normal activities right after this test.

If the pain doesn’t go away, if you get a fever, or if your urine turns bright red, tell your health care provider.

Other Side Effects

While a urethrogram is generally safe, some people react to the dye. The dye mostly stays outside the body (inside the urethra), so reactions are not common.

Minor reactions could be hot flashes, upset stomach or vomiting. These are often treated with antihistamines. Rarely, problems like a UTI (urinary tract infection) can occur.

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