What is Cystoscopy?

Cystoscopy (pronounced sis-TOS-kuh-pee) is a procedure which allows a urologist to examine in the inner lining and urethra. The urethra is the tube that drains urine out of the bladder. A cystoscopy is usually performed to find the root issues of blockages or bleeding or any abnormalities of the bladder and bladder lining. The procedure can also help diagnose certain bladder conditions, such as bladder cancer, bladder stones, bladder inflammation, and overactive bladder. Occasionally, a cystoscopy will be coupled with a second procedure called a ureteroscopy that exams the tubes which carry urine from the kidneys.

How is a cystoscopy performed?

Before the exam, it is not uncommon to be prescribed antibiotics, especially if you have a history of infections. You may also need to wait to urinate until you arrive to you appointment, in case a urine sample is collected. A cystoscopy is usually an outpatient procedure, taking as little as five to ten minutes.

You will need to empty your bladder before the procedure begins. You’ll then lie on the exam table, often with your feet in stirrups and knees open and bent. Outpatient cystoscopies are usually administered with a local anesthetic on the urethra. The cystoscope will then be inserted into the urethra. The cystoscope will be as thin as possible, with lenses that allow the urologist to see the inner works of the urethra and bladder. Water or saline is infused into the bladder through this tool so that the bladder walls stretch, allowing the urologist to see more clearly. Tissue samples may be taken during the procedure, based on the answers the urologist is seeking.

After a cystoscopy

After this procedure it is not uncommon to feel soreness through the urethra. A burning could also persist for us to two days. Holding a warm, moist washcloth over the opening to the urethra, warm baths, and flushing the bladder with plenty of fluids may help alleviate some discomfort. Additionally, there may be blood in the urine, but this should not persist for more than 24 hours after the procedure. Prolonged effects from a cystoscopy should be shared with your health care provider immediately.