Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center - Health Library

Cystoscopy

(Cystourethroscopy)

Definition

A cystoscopy is a procedure to examine the bladder with a lighted scope. The scope allows the doctor to look through the urethra and into the bladder. The urethra is a tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.

Cystoscopy of the Bladder
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Reasons for Procedure ^

Cystoscopy may be done to if you have the following symptoms:

Some abnormalities can be diagnosed through cystoscopy, including:

  • Tumors
  • Bladder stones
  • Inflammation
  • Cysts
  • Pouches on the bladder wall
  • Ulcers on the bladder wall
  • Polyps
  • Narrowing of the urethra
  • Enlargement of the prostate gland in men

Possible Complications ^

Problems from the test are rare. However, all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Damage of the bladder wall with the cystoscope—rare

Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Smoking
  • Active infection
  • Diabetes
  • Bleeding disorders

Talk to your doctor about these risks before the procedure.

What to Expect ^

Prior to Procedure

This procedure is usually done in your doctor's office.

Anesthesia

Local anesthesia is used to numb the area in and around the urethra. A sedative may also be given to help you relax.

Description of the Procedure

You will lie on an exam table. A cystoscope will be inserted through the urinary opening, into the urethra, and into the bladder. Your bladder will be drained of urine. A sample will be kept for testing. Next, your bladder will be filled with sterile water or saline solution. This will allow a better view of the bladder walls. The bladder and urethra will be examined.

How Long Will It Take?

Up to 15 minutes

How Much Will It Hurt?

Local anesthesia will keep you free from pain. You may feel some discomfort or the urge to urinate when the bladder is filled during the exam.

Post-procedure Care

After the procedure, you may experience a burning sensation or see small amounts of blood when you urinate.

Call Your Doctor ^

Call your doctor if any of these occur:

  • Frequency, urgency, burning, or pain when urinating
  • You are unable to urinate or empty your bladder completely
  • Blood in your urine after 24 hours
  • Signs of infection; including fever and chills
  • Pain in your abdomen, back, or side

If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.

RESOURCES:

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
https://www.niddk.nih.gov

Urology Care Foundation
http://urologyhealth.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Urological Association
http://www.cua.org

Health Canada
https://www.canada.ca

REFERENCES:

Cystoscopy. Urology Care Foundation website. Available at: http://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/cystoscopy?article=77. Accessed March 7, 2018.

Cytoscopy & ureteroscopy. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/cystoscopy. Updated June 2015. Accessed March 7, 2018.

Last reviewed March 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD  Last Updated: 3/3/2014