Diagnosis at Mayo Clinic

By Mayo Clinic Staff

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Frequently, doctors diagnose ureteral obstruction disorders before birth during routine prenatal ultrasounds, which can show details of the developing fetus, including the kidneys, ureters and bladder. Doctors often perform another ultrasound after birth to reevaluate the kidneys.

If your doctor suspects you have an obstructed ureter, you may have some of these tests and scans to reach a diagnosis:

  • Blood and urine tests. Your doctor checks samples of your blood and urine for signs of infection and the presence of creatinine, which signals that your kidneys aren't working properly.
  • Ultrasound. An ultrasound of the area behind your abdominal organs (retroperitoneal ultrasound) allows your doctor to view the kidneys and ureters.
  • Voiding cystourethrogram. To test for abnormal urine flow, your doctor inserts a small tube (catheter) through the urethra, injects dye into your bladder, and takes X-rays of your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra before and during urination.
  • Intravenous pyelogram (IVP) or excretory urogram. Your doctor or a technician injects dye into a vein in your arm and takes X-rays as the dye moves into your kidneys, ureters and bladder.
  • Renal nuclear scan. Similar to an IVP, your doctor or a technician injects dye that contains a small amount of radioactive material into your arm. A special camera detects the radioactivity and produces images that your doctor uses to evaluate the urinary system.
  • Cystoscopy. A small tube with a camera and light is inserted into your urethra or through a small incision. The optical system allows the doctor to see inside the urethra and bladder.
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan. A CT scan combines a series of X-ray views taken from many different angles and computer processing to create cross-sectional images of your kidneys, ureter and bladder.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Abdominal MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues that make up your urinary system.
Feb. 15, 2014