IVP (Intravenous Pyelogram)


An intravenous pyelogram is a type of x-ray examination specifically designed to study the kidneys, bladder, and ureters (the tubes which carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder). After iodine-based contrast dye is injected intravenously, a series of images are taken at timed intervals.

The kidneys are responsible for removing the contrast dye from the blood and collecting it in urine. Abnormalities in the appearance of the kidneys or ureters, distribution of contrast within a kidney, asymmetry in the amount of contrast in each kidney, or defects in the collecting systems can be identified and are suggestive of particular diseases and conditions.

The procedure helps evaluate infections in the bladder and the kidneys, blood in the urine, flank pain(which may be from kidney stones), tumors, and evaluates the urinary tract for damage after an abdominal injury.

Preparation before the procedure

As with all X-ray procedures, inform the health care provider if you:

  • Are pregnant
  • Are diabetic
  • Are allergic to contrast material
  • Have any drug allergies

You need to eat a very light dinner or no food the night before the test and should not eat or drink anything until the test is over (including morning coffee!). You may be given a laxative to take the afternoon before the procedure to remove intestinal gas and feces that could obscure the view of the kidneys. You will be given a hospital gown to put on.

The procedure lasts about one hour.

For a more in depth look at this procedure, visit our Health Library page on this topic.