Micturating Cystogram (MCUG)

This page explains what is involved in a Micturating Cystogram and what to expect.

What is a Micturating Cystogram?

A Micturating Cystogram (MCUG) is used to look at your urinary system (bladder & kidneys). It uses ‘contrast’, a clear liquid, which shows on x-rays. The liquid is given to your child through a urinary catheter.

When you receive your appointment letter

If you are unable to keep this appointment, please inform the department as soon as possible.

If your child is likely to need a hoist during the appointment, please telephone us so that we can make sure this is ready for you.

Before the appointment

If you are pregnant or think you could be pregnant, please let us know. The x-rays used in the fluoroscopy scan could harm your unborn baby, so we would advise bringing another adult to come into the scanning room with your child.

If your child is 12 years old or older and of childbearing potential, we will ask them about their periods and any possibility that they could be pregnant; this is a legal obligation that we must ask.

The person bringing your child to the scan should have ‘Parental Responsibility’ for them. Parental Responsibility refers to the individual who has legal rights, responsibilities, duties, power and authority to make decisions for a child. If the person bringing your child does not have Parental Responsibility, we may have to cancel the scan.

Antibiotic cover

The test requires us to insert a urinary catheter (tube) into your child’s bladder. This carries a potential risk of introducing a urinary tract infection. To try and prevent this, your child will need to take antibiotics for the time around the test.

If your child is already on a routine antibiotic called Trimethoprim, then you will need to do the following:

  • Day before the test: Give double the usual dose in the morning and give double the usual dose in the evening.
  • Day of the test: give double the usual dose in the morning, have the test, then give double the usual dose in the evening.
  • Day after the test: double the usual dose in the morning and double the usual dose in the evening.
  • Please go back to your normal routine dose after this is complete.

If your child is on a different antibiotic, or not on any course of antibiotics, please contact the clinical team before the test for advice.

What to bring with you?

It can help if your child has a favourite toy to hold to comfort them during the study. Electronic devices such as iPads are also welcome.

You might want to bring some spare clothes in case any of the contrast liquid spills.

If your child self-catheterises, please bring your bag of equipment with you.

The day of the study

Please arrive at the Radiology department at the time stated in your child’s appointment letter.

When you arrive for the test, we will check that the antibiotics have been given before starting the procedure.

The study

You are welcome to stay with your child throughout the study. Everyone staying inside the examination room will need to wear a lead coat.

Before we begin, your child will need to remove any metallic objects and wear a hospital gown. Underwear or nappies must also be removed.

Your child will lay on the x-ray bed and a urinary catheter will be inserted into the urethra (penis in boys). If your child already has a urinary catheter in place, we will use this for the scan.

The contrast liquid will pass through the tube into the bladder. Your child will feel quite full after the contrast is inserted, as if they need a wee.

We will take a series of X-rays with your child lying in different positions on the bed.

An x-ray will often be needed while your child is urinating. Babies and young children will naturally pee when the bladder is full. Older children will be given a container to wee into.

After the study

If a catheter was inserted in the department, this will be removed once the test is complete, and you will be free to go home.

A report outlining the results of the procedure will be sent to the doctor who referred your child for this test. You/ your child will receive the results from your referring doctor once they have reviewed them.

When you get home

Please remember to follow the post procedure antibiotic guidance stated above.

The contrast will naturally pass when your child urinates. You may notice the urine to be sticky. This is normal and should pass over the next few hours. Your child should take plenty of fluids for the next couple of days to flush the contrast out.

Are there any risks?

The contrast liquid will not interfere with any medicines your child is taking.

It is our legal duty to tell you about the potential risk of having a fluoroscopy study. The studies are only ever requested if the benefits outweigh the risks involved. The study does use radiation, but the dose is kept as low as possible. This is because the radiographers are specially trained to obtain the best quality pictures while using the lowest amount of radiation possible.

Anyone staying in the room with your child will need to wear a lead apron – this works as a barrier to radiation. We advise that anyone who is pregnant or thinks they might be pregnant should not go into the room.

Inserting a catheter into the bladder carries a risk of introducing a urinary tract infection. The course of antibiotics you will be prescribed can reduce this risk. If your child develops a high temperature, has discomfort when peeing, or becomes unwell, please contact your family doctor (GP).

Are there any alternatives?

Other types of imaging studies, such as CT or Ultrasound can visualise the urinary system, but these tests generally cannot provide the relevant information we can get from an MCUG. This will be essential to plan your child’s treatment.

Further information and support

If you have any questions, please telephone the Radiology department on 020 7829 8615, extension 0361.

If your child feels unwell after the test, please phone NHS 111 or attend your local Urgent Care Centre or Emergency Department.

Your Feedback

We take all feedback very seriously and want to hear about your experiences on Kingfisher ward. Your feedback helps us to understand what we are doing well but importantly how we can improve. We will give you a feedback card but if you haven’t received one, please ask a member of staff. You can also provide feedback via our website.

Any concerns?

We know we do not always get things right. As explained above, please do raise any queries or issues with the ward staff in the first instance. We want to help and often we are able to resolve things quickly.

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (Pals)

Another way of raising a concern is to contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (Pals). The Pals team can offer independent advice and support, working with you to sort out a problem along with members of staff.

They are based in the main reception area and open from Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm. You can also call them on 020 7829 7862 or email pals@gosh.nhs.uk.


The Complaints team are also available if you want to make a complaint. To contact them phone 020 7813 8402 or email complaints@gosh.nhs.uk.

Other Information

If you require a copy of this information in a different format or language, please contact the Pals team for assistance.

Compiled by:
The Radiology department in collaboration with the Child and Family Information Group.
Last review date:
January 2023