An intravenous pyelogram (IVP) is a special x-ray of the urinary tract. A material called contrast is used in the urine to highlight the flow of urine.
Normal Anatomy of the Kidney
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An IVP is done to look for:
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will talk to you about possible problems like:
Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Pregnant women should not have this test.
Recent tests will be reviewed before the x-ray. Leading up to the test:
An IV will be placed. The contrast material and any needed medicine will be passed through the IV. You will lie on a table for 30 to 60 minutes. X-rays will be taken at regular intervals. This will allow the doctor to see these body parts at work. It will better show where problems might be. You may be asked to hold your breath each time an x-ray is taken. You will also be asked to empty your bladder in a bathroom before the last x-ray.
You can return to normal activity and diet.
About 60 to 90 minutes
This test will not hurt. A warmth or heat may be felt as the contrast is given through the IV.
It may take a few days to get test results. The doctor will talk to you about the results and how it may affect treatment.
It is important to monitor your recovery. Alert your doctor to any problems. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Urology Care Foundation
Kidney Foundation of Canada
Intravenous pyelogram (IVP). Radiology Info—Radiological Society of North America website. Available at:
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Accessed September 21, 2020.
Last reviewed September 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Adrienne Carmack, MD
Last Updated: 10/13/2020