Cystoscopy: Purpose, Procedure, and Preparation


What is a Cystoscopy?

According to the healthcare company MedicineNet, a cystoscopy is an examination of the inside of the bladder and urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.

The doctor performing the examination uses cystoscope – a long thin tube with a tiny lens and a light on the end – to insert it into the bladder. The small lens magnifies the inner lining of the urethra and bladder, allowing the doctor to see inside the hollow bladder. Many cystoscopes have extra channels within the sheath to insert other small instruments that can be used to treat or diagnose urinary problems.

Reasons For Having a Cystoscopy

According to the health information site Healthline, the doctor might order cystoscopy if a patient has urinary problems, such as the constant need to urinate or painful urination. A cystoscopy can reveal several conditions, including bladder tumors, stones, or cancer. The doctor can also use this procedure to diagnosis:

  • Blockages
  • Enlarged prostate gland
  • Noncancerous growths
  • Problems with the ureters (tubes connecting your bladder to the kidneys)

A cystoscopy can also be used to treat underlying bladder conditions. The doctor can pass tiny surgical tools through the scope to remove small bladder tumors and stones or to take a sample of bladder tissue.

Other uses of cystoscopy include:

  • Taking a urine sample to check for tumors or infection
  • Inserting a small tube to assist with urine flow
  • Injecting dye so kidney problems can be identified on an X-ray

What Are the Different Types of Cystoscopy?


According to National Health Service (NHS), the UK’s biggest health website, there are two types of cystoscopy:

  • Flexible cystoscopy – a thin (about the width of a pencil), a bendy cystoscope is used and the patient stays awake during the procedure.
  • Rigid cystoscopy – a slightly wider cystoscope that doesn’t bend is used. During the procedure, the patient is either put to sleep, or the lower half of the patient’s body is numbed.

Flexible cystoscopies tend to be done if the reason for the procedure is just to check the inside of the bladder. A rigid cystoscopy may be done if the patient needs treatment for an already existing bladder problem.

How to Prepare For the Cystoscopy


According to Arizona Gynecology Consultants, a clinic specializing in all areas of women’s health, patients should drink plenty of water the day before a cystoscopy. By hydrating, the patient will help flush waste through the bladder, so it is as clean as possible before the examination.

A doctor will typically ask the patient for a urine sample before performing the cystoscopy. At Arizona Gynecology Consultants, patients who have urinary tract infections or weak immune systems may need to complete a round of antibiotics before undergoing a cystoscopy.

Does Cystoscopy Hurt?

According to the Official Foundation of the American Urological Association, after the cystoscope is removed, the patient may be sore and might have a burning feeling for up to 48 hours. At first, the patient might find some blood in her urine, but this should go away within 12 to 24 hours. If the pain remains after the two days of the procedure, the patient should inform the doctor about this.

The experts at Arizona Gynecology Consultants require the use of anesthesia, and different patients may receive different types of anesthesia. If a patient requires general anesthesia, she will likely need to fast for several hours before the cystoscopy. General anesthesia renders a patient completely unconscious, and food in the patient’s stomach can cause life-threatening complication under the effects of general anesthesia.

Other patients may require only a regional or local anesthetic. A dose of regional anesthesia will take the form of an injection in the spine that numbs the patient from the waist down. Local anesthesia will numb only the area of the body that houses the bladder, and the patient will be awake during a procedure. At Arizona Gynecology Consultants, patients who undergo general or regional anesthesia should expect a hospital stay of at least a few hours following a cystoscopy.

Risks of a Cystoscopy

Cystoscopy is usually a very safe procedure and serious complications are rare. Nevertheless, the patients should always speak to the doctor about the possible risks of the procedure before having it.

According to NHS, urinary tract infections (UTIs) are one of the most common complications of a cystoscopy. These are infections of the bladder, kidneys, or small tubes connected to them.

Symptoms of UTI can include:

  • A burning sensation when peeing that lasts longer than two days
  • A fever of 38C (100.4F) or above
  • Pee that smells bad
  • Feeling sick and vomiting
  • Pain in the lower back or side


Patients should contact a doctor if they experience symptoms of UTI.

For more information about cystoscopy, you can visit Arizona Gynecology Consultants and ask medical professionals any questions regarding this procedure.  



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