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The patient begins by emptying the bladder as much as possible. A thin plastic catheter is then slowly inserted into the urethra until it reaches the bladder. Measurements are taken of the residual urine volume and bladder pressure. Pressure measurements may require a rectal probe to account for the contribution of the abdominal muscles to the pressure recording.

The bladder is then gradually filled with either warm water, room temperature water, saline solution, carbon dioxide gas, or a contrast solution for x-ray analysis, depending on the type of study being done. The patient is asked to describe sensations during filling, including temperature sensations and when the first feeling of bladder fullness occurs. Once the bladder is completely full, the patient is asked to begin voiding, and measurements are again made of pressure and volume, as well as flow rate and pressure.

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