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Urology Care Foundation The Official Foundation of the American Urological Association

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Get the facts. And the help you need.

Cystoscopy

Cystoscopy, or cystourethroscopy, is a procedure that enables a urologist to view the inside of the bladder and urethra in great detail. It is commonly used to diagnose bladder tumors, identify obstruction of the bladder and look for any abnormalities of the bladder and its lining.

The procedure is usually performed as an outpatient procedure in a urology clinic or treatment room. Prior to the procedure, the patient will need to empty their bladder and will then be positioned on an examination table. After administration of local anesthesia, a cystoscope is inserted through the urethra into the bladder. The cystoscope is a thin, lighted tube that is either flexible or rigid. Water or saline is then instilled into the bladder through the cystoscope. As the fluid fills the bladder, the bladder wall is stretched thus allowing detailed viewing by the urologist. Under normal conditions, the bladder wall should appear smooth and the bladder should be normal size, shape and position and there should not be any blockages. If any tissue in the bladder wall appears abnormal, a small sample can be removed through the cystoscope to be analyzed.

The average cystoscopy takes about 10 to15 minutes.

After the cystoscope is removed, the patient's urethra may be sore and they may feel a burning sensation for up to 48 hours. If discomfort persists, fever develops or urine appears bright red, a physician should be notified.

 



Reviewed January 2011

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Cystoscopy Glossary
  • anesthesia: Loss of sensation in any part of the body induced by a numbing or paralyzing agent. Often used during surgery to put a person to sleep.

  • bladder: The bladder is a thick muscular balloon-shaped pouch in which urine is stored before being discharged through the urethra.

  • cyst: An abnormal sac containing gas, fluid or a semisolid material. Cysts may form in kidneys or other parts of the body.

  • cystoscope: A narrow, tube-like instrument fitted with lenses and a light passed through the urethra to look inside the bladder. The procedure is called cystoscopy (sis-TAW-skuh-pee).

  • cystoscopy: Also known as cystourethroscopy. An examination with a narrow, flexible tube-like instrument passed through the urethra to examine the bladder and urinary tract for structural abnormalities or obstructions, such as tumors or stones.

  • cystourethroscopy: Also known as cystoscopy. An examination with a narrow, flexible tube-like instrument passed through the urethra to examine the bladder and urinary tract for structural abnormalities or obstructions, such as tumors or stones.

  • ions: Electrically charged atoms.

  • local anesthesia: Loss of sensation only in one part of the body induced by application of an anesthetic agent.

  • obstruction: something that obstructs, blocks, or closes up with an obstacle

  • saline: Containing salt.

  • tissue: Group of cells in an organism that are similar in form and function.

  • tumor: An abnormal mass of tissue or growth of cells.

  • urethra: A tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. In males, the urethra serves as the channel through which semen is ejaculated and it extends from the bladder to the tip of the penis. In females, the urethra is much shorter than in males.

  • urethroscopy: Inspection of the urethra with a urethroscope.

  • urine: Liquid waste product filtered from the blood by the kidneys, stored in the bladder and expelled from the body through the urethra by the act of urinating (voiding). About 96 percent of which is water and the rest waste products.

  • urologist: A doctor who specializes in diseases of the male and female urinary systems and the male reproductive system. Click here to learn more about urologists. (Download the free Acrobat reader.)

  • urology: Branch of medicine concerned with the urinary tract in males and females and with the genital tract and reproductive system of males.

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