When combined with plain X-rays, ultrasound is as effective as urography and may actually be safer, according to a new UK study.
Ultrasound has largely replaced urography - radiography of the urinary tract using an opaque visualising medium - for assessing urinary tract infections (UTIs) in women and children. It's also cheaper and quicker.
But men don't have UTIs as much as they have kidney and urinary tract stones so, for them, urography is still the technique of choice.
However, a urology and radiology department team at Stevenage's Lister Hospital concludes that, given the hazards associated with the ionising radiation found with urography, ultrasound and X-rays should be used first when investigating men with a known UTI (BMJ, 2002; 324: 454-6).