Cystoscopy refers to a diagnostic procedure which enables the doctor to directly examine the urinary tract, especially the bladder, the urethra, and the ureters. This procedure helps the surgeons to precisely locate the disorders with the urinary tract, such as early signs of cancer, infection, strictures and bleeding.

A Cystoscope is essentially a flexible, lighted tube which is inserted into the urethra and then advanced into the bladder. The Cystoscope not only helps to visualize the internal urethra and bladder, it also allows the doctor to irrigate, suction, and easily access these organs with surgical equipments. The urologist can also place certain substances such as saline or water into the bladder with the help of the cystoscope. During this procedure, the doctor may remove some tissue for biopsy.

Some of the other associated procedures that may be used for diagnosing the disorders of the urinary tract include kidney, Ureters, and Bladder X-ray, CT scan of the kidneys, Cystometry, Cystography, Retrograde cystography, and Pyelogram.

Reasons to undergo Cystoscopy

Some of the medical conditions which involve the urinary tract include the following:

  • Cancer or tumor of the bladder or prostate gland

  • Polyps

  • Bladder stones

  • Benign prostatic hypertrophy or a benign enlargement of the prostate gland which severely disrupts the passage of urine from the bladder

  • Frequent urinary tract infections (UTI)

  • Blood in the urine

  • Urinary incontinence

  • Painful urination

  • Congenital abnormalities of the urinary tract

  • Injury to the urinary tract

Risks of the procedure

Certain complications related to Cystoscopy include the following:

  • Bleeding and Infection

  • Urinary retention

  • Bladder perforation

Please discuss any concerns with your doctor before the procedure.

A Cystoscopy is usually performed on an outpatient basis.

During the procedure

  • First of all, an intravenous (IV) line would be inserted in your arm.

  • An IV sedative or anesthetic will be administered based on your particular situation and the type of scope that is used.

  • In certain cases, a special type of blue dye may be administered through the IV line about 10 to 15 minutes prior to the procedure. This enables the dye to smoothly pass into the kidneys where it mixes with the urine. If blue-colored urine passes from the ureters into the bladder, it helps the doctor to further examine for blockage.

  • The patient will have to lie on the examination table on his or her back with the feet placed in stirrups.

  • A topical anesthetic gel is inserted into the urethra with the help of a special catheter.

  • When the anesthesia has taken full effect, the doctor will insert the Cystoscope into the urethra.

  • The doctor will check the mucosal layer for any underlying defectsor obstructions. The cystoscope will be then advanced until it passes into the bladder.

  • Sterile water or saline is instilled into the bladder in order to expand it for better visualization.

  • The doctor will then examine the bladder to detect any abnormalities. A small equipment may be inserted through the Cystoscope to collect a sample of the tissue for a biopsy. A sample of urine from the bladder may also be taken.

  • The Cystoscope will be cautiously removed from the urinary tract after the entire procedure has been completed.

After the procedure

After the procedure, you may feel the urge to urinate frequently. There will be some burning sensation during and after urination for about a day or two. It is better to consume lots of fluids to help reduce the burning sensation and to prevent a urinary tract infection.

However, please notify your doctor immediately to report any of the following:

  • Fever and/or chills

  • Frequent urination or urgency in urinating

  • Inability to urinate

  • Pain in the lower back region

  • Persistent burning sensation during urination

  • Blood in the urine