This article discusses various diagnostic procedures most often recommended by urologists to analyze the health of the urinary system.
- Urine Analysis – It is the simplest evaluation of the urine. Various components of urine are examined via various techniques. Microscopic examination of the urine sample is performed to look for any abnormal organisms, blood cells or inflammatory cells which may indicate cancer, urinary tract infections or any other urological diseases. This is widely used for analyzing the health of lower urinary tract.
- Kidney, Ureter, Bladder (KUB) X-ray – Generally, it is the first in-line test to find out some abnormalities in the urinary system. During the procedure, x-ray beam are focused on the abdominal areas which have to be investigated. The computer-aided images are printed for physician’s review. KUB x-ray is a simple test done on outpatient basis.
- Abdominal/Renal Ultrasound – It is an imaging technique which uses ultrasound waves to examine the kidneys and bladder. A less invasive procedure, it involves application of clear gel on the abdominal skin and then a small hand-held probe is moved over this area to see the organs. Images appear on the screen and are printed as a film.
- Bladder Biopsy – It is done when there is a suspicion of cancer cells in the bladder. Patient is given anaesthesia, then a thin tube with a camera and light attached to it (called cytoscope) is entered into the bladder to remove a sample of tissues from the wall of the bladder. These are examined under the microscope to analyze the presence of diseases. Patients may experience mild pain which goes away after few days.
- Computed Axial Tomography (CT) scan – It is an imaging technique that uses computer and X-rays to generate three-dimensional images of the internal organs and tissues of the body. In urology, CT scan is used to diagnose abnormalities in kidneys, ureters & urinary bladder & the vessels attached to it. It is a safe technique but sometimes patient may feel hot flushes and nausea or vomiting which can
- Intravenous Pyelogram/Urogram – It is an x-ray examination of the upper urinary tract including kidneys, urethra and ureters. This diagnostic technique uses special dye which is injected into the veins and then carried through the bloodstream and entire urinary system to pass out of the urine. It gives a clear view of the health and functioning of the urinary system. Urogram is particularly used by physicians to test for bladder of kidney stones, tumors, cysts, narrowing of ureters and enlarged prostate.
- Cystoscopy – A cystoscope is a thin flexible tube with light and camera attached to it is inserted inside the bladder to assist physician to see the lower urinary tract including bladder, urethra and prostate. It helps to diagnose urological conditions such as bladder cancer, chronic pelvic pain, benign prostate hyperplasia and urinary incontinence. Done on outpatient basis, patients may experience mild side effects such as burning sensation or blood in the urine, which disappear after 2-3 days.
- Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) – Prostate gland produces a protein known as PSA, which is detected in the blood. The high blood levels of this protein indicate abnormal prostate conditions such as inflammation, infection and benign prostatic hyperplasia.
- Prostate Biopsy – It is an important test to confirm the prostate cancer in males. Prostate biopsy is done post revelation of abnormally high PSA levels in the blood or irregular results of rectal examination.
- Uro-dynamics Testing – It is a combination of number of tests to examine the function and efficiency of lower urinary tract including bladder and urethra. This is the most common urological test to diagnose any urinary problems such as frequent urination, urine leakage, painful urination or problem emptying the bladder completely. It is also recommended for patients with enlarged prostates to confirm bladder outlet obstruction (BOO).
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