What is a Cystoscopy?

Cystoscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to look at the inside of the bladder and the urethra using a thin, lighted instrument called a cystoscope. Diagnostic cystoscopy is often done with local anesthesia in the office. Cystoscopy is also done in the operating room both for diagnosis and to facilitate treatment of certain bladder conditions.

After applying lidocaine jelly into the urethra, the cystoscope is inserted and slowly advanced into the bladder. Cystoscopy allows your doctor to look at areas of your bladder and urethra that usually do not show up well on X-rays. Tiny surgical instruments can be inserted through the cystoscope that allows your doctor to remove foreign bodies like stones or stents or take samples of tissue (biopsy).

Small bladder stones and some small growths can be removed during cystoscopy. This may eliminate the need for more extensive surgery.

Indications for Cystoscopy?

  • Find the cause of blood in the urine (hematuria), painful urination (dysuria), urinary incontinence, urinary frequency or hesitancy, an inability to pass urine (retention), or a sudden and overwhelming need to urinate (urgency).
  • Find the cause of problems of the urinary tract, such as frequent, repeated urinary tract infections or urinary tract infections that do not respond to treatment.
  • Look for problems in the urinary tract, such as a blockage in the urethra caused by an enlarged prostate, urethral strictures, kidney stones, or tumors.
  • Evaluate problems that cannot be seen on X-ray or to further investigate problems detected by ultrasound or CT scannings, such as kidney stones or tumors.
  • Remove tissue samples for biopsy.
  • Remove foreign objects.
  • Place ureteral catheters (stents) to help urine flow from the kidneys to the bladder.
  • Treat urinary tract problems. For example, cystoscopy can be done to remove urinary tract stones or growths, treat bleeding in the bladder, relieve blockages in the urethra, or treat or remove tumors.
  • Place a catheter in the ureter for an X-ray test called retrograde pyelography. An iodine-based contrast solution that shows up on X-ray is injected through the catheter to fill and outline the ureter and the inside of the kidney. What are common symptoms following my Cystoscopy?

What are common symptoms following my Cystoscopy?

Cystoscopy generally is a very safe procedure. If a general anesthetic is used, there are some risks of general anesthesia. There is no risk of loss of sexual function.

The most common side effect is a temporary burning of the urethra during urination (dysuria). In men, it is also possible to have swelling of the urethra as it passes through the prostate gland, which may make it difficult to urinate. A catheter inserted in your bladder can help drain the urine until the swelling goes away. Bleeding sometimes occurs, but it usually is mild and stops on its own.

There is a small risk of infection in the urinary tract after cystoscopy. This can usually be prevented or treated by taking an antibiotic before or after the test. In rare cases, the infection can spread through the body, and in very rare circumstances, the infection can be life-threatening.

Another rare complication is an injury to the urethra or bladder by one of the instruments, which requires surgery to repair.