Pyelography refers to a type of imaging test, which can be performed to view the ureter. During an intravenous pyelogram (IVP), your doctor will inject a specially formulated contrast dye into your veins. An x-ray will then be taken, allowing your doctor to check whether the bladder, kidneys and ureter are functioning as they should. In some cases, your doctor may recommend a retrograde pyelogram, which involves the injection of the contrast dye directly into the ureter.

Ureteroscopy ± lithotripsy and stone fragment retrieval

If your doctor suspects you may have kidney stones, he may recommend a ureteroscopy, which involves the examination of the upper urinary tract. Your doctor will insert a ureteroscope, which comprises a tube with a light and camera, through the urethra and bladder and into the ureter. With the use of the ureteroscope, your doctor is able to confirm diagnosis of the kidney stones, and if necessary, perform lithotripsy and stone fragment retrieval procedures. During lithotripsy, sound waves are used to break up the kidney stones into smaller pieces. These pieces can then be removed surgically, or through urination.

Placement of JJ stent

If you have been diagnosed with urinary problems, your doctor may recommend the placement of a JJ stent, or ureteral stent. The stent, which is a thin tube, is inserted into the ureter, and works by treating any blockages in the urine flow between the kidneys and the bladder. During the insertion process, your doctor will make use of a cystoscope, which comprises a camera and a light. He may also use x-rays, which will allow him a better view of the inside of the body and ensure that the stent is inserted in the correct position. Placement of a JJ stent may be recommended in cases of ureteral stricture, and can also be helpful in removal of kidney stones, in which case the stent will be placed in the kidney.

Tumour biopsy / barbotage ± brush cytology

Your doctor may recommend a tumour biopsy in order to diagnose cancer. During the procedure, a small tissue sample is collected and sent to a laboratory for further testing. Barbotage cytology, which involves the injection of fluid into an area of tissue for the collection of a sample, may also be performed for diagnostic purposes. During brush cytology, which is another means of cell collection for testing in a laboratory, your doctor will use a special brush to remove cells from the suspected tumour. In some cases, all three of these methods may be used to confirm a diagnosis.