A valuable resource for different urinary and bladder tests can be found at AboutKidsHealth
The first and least invasive is kidney ultrasound. It allows a view of what the kidneys look like. They look at the size of the kidneys, any scarring, hydronephrosis (dilation of the kidney) and any indication of infection and determine if the kidneys are healthy.
Hydronephrosis is when the kidney swells up (increases in size) because urine is building up in it. It can be caused if there is a blockage and urine cannot drain out, or if urine in the bladder is being pushed back into the kidney (reflux). There are different grades of kidney reflux.
To prevent kidney reflux it is important to relax the bladder.
A VCUG is with an x-ray. VCUG stands to Voiding CystoUrethroGraphy.
You lie down under an x-ray machine. A catheter is put into the bladder and the bladder is filled with contrast. It looks at the bladder capacity (how much urine the bladder can hold) and what happens when the bladder is full. What is the shape of the bladder? Does it leak out? Or does it reflux into the kidney? The contract allows the x-ray to see exactly what urine does. The test takes about 15-20 minutes and gives and understanding of bladder capacity.
The picture shows reflux on one side (http://www.hindawi.com/journals/au/2011/852928.fig.001.jpg)
Urodynamics is another test.
Urodynamics is to evaluate the relationship between pressure in the bladder and flow of urine through the urethra. The test measures and evaluates filling the bladder, emptying the bladder and tries to recreate instances of leaking. All of the information is recorded on a video screen
This test is a little more involved, it measures filling the bladder with fluid and measuring what the bladder does. A catheter goes into the bladder and the rectum and electrodes measure pressure.
It goes very slow, because it is looking as bladder movement and spasms it is important to stay still for most of the time.
At different times during the test they want to see how the bladder reacts to different movements, so you are asked to cough at specific times. When we went he never wanted to cough when it was time, and it was something we should have practiced ahead of time, but I never thought about it. They looked to see what the bladder would do when it was completely full.
Usually my son doesn't feel it when his bladder is full, but this time when it was very uncomfortable when it got full.
All of these tests helps to give an idea of what is going on with the bladder and kidneys. A neurogenic bladder means that the bladder does not work like it should due to neurologic damage (damage to the nerves that tell them what to do). There is a variety of things that the bladder may due because it doesn't know what to do.
Urology is a very important member of the health care team and helps to provide professional guidance in the care of bladder and kidneys.