What are urodynamic studies?
Urodynamic studies comprise a series of investigations of the bladder and the associated sphincter muscles. It is used by your surgeon to investigate patients, both male and female, who suffer from lower urinary tract symptoms such as frequency, urgency, incontinence and poor stream. The studies are usually performed in a radiology department with your urologist and a nurse present. During the studies small catheters or tubes are passed into the bladder via the urethra (in male patients via the penis) and into the back passage so that pressures can be measured as the bladder fills and empties. X-rays are taken during the procedure to assess the anatomy of the bladder and urethra. An anaesthetic gel may be used for your comfort. The procedure usually takes about 30-45 minutes.
The information obtained from urodynamic studies will help your urologist to make a more accurate diagnosis of the bladder problem so that the most appropriate treatment can be determined. It is also useful to be able to inform patients about the likely outcome of any intervention, and to ensure that whatever treatment is offered has the best chance of success.
Preparation for the studies
The only preparation required is that you should attend the appointment with a reasonably full bladder so that a urine flow rate can be tested prior to the placement of the catheters. For this test a female patient will sit on a commode to urinate, and a male patient will stand to urinate into a container. The bladder should not be so full that it causes you pain. If you are likely to have trouble holding on, you should come to the hospital earlier than the booked appointment so that the flow test can be done sooner should the need arise.
If there is any possibility of infection being present, it is best to have this treated prior to the studies. Please discuss this with your doctor. If an infection is found to be present on the day of the studies, the studies will be cancelled and treatment prescribed.
If you are taking a medication called Betmiga, Vesicare, Duodart or Flomaxtra, you should cease taking it for 48 hours prior to the studies. Please inform your surgeon if you are on blood thinners prior to the study.
After the investigation
A good fluid intake is required to reduce the chance of infection. If you develop a fever or high temperature or become unwell, you should attend your nearest hospital's emergency department. There is usually some temporary discomfort when you urinate. This should settle within about 12 hours and is eased by drinking extra fluids. You may also pass some blood in your urine, which usually settles within a few days.
It is important that you are able to pass urine. If you are unable to pass urine you should contact your urologist or attend your nearest hospital's emergency department.
Your urologist will discuss the results of the studies at an appointment in the consulting rooms about one week later.