A cystoscopy (sis-TOS-kuh-pee) is a procedure that lets a urologist view the inside of the bladder and urethra in detail.
It is often used to find causes of blood in the urine, incontinence, frequent urinary tract infections, a narrowing in the urethra or any abnormality of the bladder and its lining. It is also may be used to decide the best surgical treatment option for men who are having voiding issues related to an enlarged prostate.
A cystoscopy is most often done as an outpatient procedure in a urology testing room and is a very quick procedure that takes about 5 to 15 minutes. If done in a hospital with a sedative or anesthesia, a cystoscopy may take about 15 to 30 minutes.
Before beginning the process, you will be asked to empty your bladder. You will lie down on a table on your back. A numbing gel will be applied to the urethra to reduce any discomfort or pain when the cystoscope is inserted. Once the urethra is numb, you are relaxed or asleep (depending on what form of anesthetic is used), your urologist will insert the cystoscope through the urethra into the bladder. You may notice a pressure sensation as the scope is passed through the urethra.
The cystoscope is a thin, lighted tube that has a lens on the end that magnifies the inner surface and lining of your urethra and bladder. A sterile solution of water or saline is infused through the cystoscope into the bladder. As the fluid fills the bladder, the bladder wall is stretched so the urologist can see clearly. During this process, you may notice a sensation that you have to urinate as the bladder is filled. Once the cystoscope is removed, you are able to resume your daily routine. If you had a sedative or local anesthesia, you will be asked to stay in a recovery area to allow for the effects of the medication to wear off before leaving.
Once home, you may feel sore, find some blood in your urine or have a burning feeling when urinating. Often patients report a burning feeling with urination immediately after the procedure. These should all go away within 12 to 24 hours. If you still have pain after 48 hours, or if you get a fever or your urine is bright red, tell your health care provider.