Urodynamic Testing

Urodynamic Testing

Urodynamic testing is an assessment of the bladder and urethra and how they work together to store and release urine. It is used to diagnose and treat a number of urinary bladder problems, such as frequency, incontinence, pelvic prolapse, discomfort, blocking, infection and other abnormal valuing. It can help guide treatment and interventions for a wide variety of lower urinary tract symptoms.

Why is Urodynamic Testing Done?

Urodynamic testing is used to identify the cause of lower urinary tract symptoms. It can help answer questions regarding abnormal urinary tract function or structure. It can also help determine the need for urinary tract surgery, such as cystoscopy, and can help in the preoperative planning of such surgery. Urodynamic testing can determine the effect of any therapies and medications taken to treat symptoms, as well as the effectiveness of any prior surgeries. The information comes from studying the physiological pressure and flow rate of urine.

Preparation for Urodynamic Testing

Urodynamic testing can be done as an outpatient procedure, and does not take long. Patients are usually asked not to take any medications for bladder leakage before the test. Patients are also encouraged to drink water one hour before the test begins in order to help fill the bladder. It is important to follow all instructions given by the doctor.

Urodynamic Testing Procedure

Urodynamic testing is performed to assess bladder pressure, measure flow rate how the bladder empties, and/or check sensation. It is done in a doctor’s office or a hospital setting. In the procedure, a small catheter, cystoscope, or a special sensor called a urodynamic catheter is inserted either through the urethra into the bladder or through a needle puncture in the abdomen into the bladder. Measurements are then taken and compared. Depending on the test, urine may be collected from the bladder during the procedure.

Types of Urodynamic Testing

There are several types of urodynamic testing including:

  • Electromyography (EMG)- This test measures the electrical activity of the muscles associated with bladder function.
  • Pressure flow studies- This measures the pressure in the bladder and in the urethra while collecting the urine. This information can be used to detect and diagnose various structures and conditions.
  • Uroflowmetry- This measures how quickly the bladder is emptied.
  • Video urodynamics- This uses a cystoscope and special instruments to measure bladder pressure and movement in the bladder.

Risks of Urodynamic Testing

Urodynamic testing is a safe and non-invasive procedure with minimal risks. However, there is a small risk of infection or other minor complications. The risk is generally very low, but patients may experience some discomfort during the test. Patients should discuss any concerns with their doctor before undergoing the test.

When is Urodynamic Testing Necessary?

Urodynamic testing is usually recommended if the patient is having lower urinary tract symptoms. A doctor may also recommend the test for patients who have had surgery on the urinary tract, who have recurrent urinary tract infections, or to help make a diagnosis in patients with urological anomalies. Patients who have had trauma or injury to the bladder may also need urodynamic testing.