The renal or urinary system produces urine through the kidney which is stored in the urinary bladder and later eliminated through the urethra. The urinary system is responsible for maintaining the chemical and water balance in the body. It includes the bean-shaped organ kidney, about twenty to twenty-five centimeters long ureters, a bladder that stores the urine and is placed in the pelvis, and the urethra, which prevents urine leakage and expels the urine out of the body.
The radiographic examination of the urinary system can be done by several imaging tests that help determine the infections and disorders of the urinary system. It helps demonstrate the size and the location of the kidney. It is non-destructive testing, which uses gamma rays to examine the internal structure. The testing is based on a balance between the film and the radiation source.
The urinary system disorders and conditions that affect the kidney, ureters, and bladder are sometimes present from birth or developed throughout life. The common urinary system disorders are as follows:
Interstitial cystitis, also known as painful bladder syndrome, causes irritation and swelling in the bladder and can be very painful.
Infections like sexually contracted diseases and urinary infections can lead to issues in the bladder, kidney, or urethra. The infections in the urinary system are caused when the bacteria or the virus enters the urinary tract.
Kidney diseases are caused due to diabetes and elevated blood pressure. Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a genetic condition that can cause various alterations in the filtration process and lead to kidney failure.
Structural problems like urinary tract formation during birth can be affected, leading to abnormalities in the kidney and the other structures.
Urinary tract obstruction is the blockage in the flow of urine caused due to tumors or benign prostatic hyperplasia in males. This can make the process of urination painful as the ureter is blocked.
Kidney stones, also known as urinary stones, block the flow of urine and form a mass of waste products.
Urinary problems like urinary incontinence refer to the leakage of urine and the loss of control of the bladder, which can be caused during pregnancy or later stages of life. Overactive bladder is another condition that causes a sudden urge to urinate very often.
Types of radiographic examinations done for the urinary system
There are various imaging techniques used for the examination of the urinary system. The radiography involves photon emission from the X-ray source, which strikes the body tissues. The photons present in different amounts of energy get excited when they strike the body, and the receptor or film forms the image.
The plane urinary tract film refers to the X-ray of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder, which helps identify kidney stones and the related diseases. It also refers to examining the abdominal pain, position, the size of the bladder and kidneys, the position of the ureteric stent, and the gall bladder stones.
The intravenous urography, also known as intravenous pyelography, is done by using a radiopaque contrast agent given as an injection in the vein that helps in the image formation of the urinary system. This test helps identify conditions like pyelonephritis, trauma, renal hypertension, calculus, hydronephrosis, and congenital abnormality.
Retrograde urethrogram is done by introducing the radiopaque contrast agent directly in the ureters. It is done during routine urological procedures like ureteroscopy, which is the insertion of the catheter in the ureters and the stent placement in the kidney or ureters. It is also done during cystoscopy. This test helps diagnose the parts of the urinary tract, tumors or scarring, and other structures like fistulas.