Urodynamics is the investigation of the function of the lower urinary tract with regard to bladder filling/storage and emptying. It measures bladder pressures, volumes, and flows. By determining the cause of urinary problems, whether they are from a problem with the bladder itself or from a poor sphincter or blockage of the bladder opening, these measurements are critical for accurate diagnosis and optimal care of bladder problems. By improving bladder function, we also protect the kidneys from back pressure and infections.
Urodynamic studies are done by passing a tiny catheter into the natural opening of the urethra and to the bladder. Fluid is used to fill the bladder gently and special sensors record the results on computer. Analysis of these measures can be used to determine the precise cause of urinary leakage or obstruction to flow. Just as the cardiac team will study the heart by routing a catheter into the blood vessels of the heart to get a picture before planning surgical care, so the urologist will use a catheter for urodynamic studies to define the nature of a bladder or other urinary problem before proceeding to surgical care.