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Definition | Reasons for Procedure | Possible Complications | What to Expect | Call Your Doctor

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 investigate 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 this procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems. Complications may include:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Rarely, accidental damage of the bladder wall with the cystoscope

Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Smoking
  • Active infection
  • Diabetes
  • Bleeding disorder

Talk to your doctor about these risks before the procedure.

What to Expect

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

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

You will lie on an exam table. The doctor will insert a cystoscope 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.

Up to 15 minutes

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

After the procedure, you may experience a burning sensation or see small amounts of blood when you urinate. To help with your recovery at home:

  • Drink plenty of fluids as directed by your doctor for the first few hours after the procedure.
  • Take any medication as prescribed by your doctor, including antibiotics if needed.
  • Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions .

Call Your Doctor

After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following 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

In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.

RESOURCES:

Urology Care Foundation

http://www.urologyhealth.org

National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse

http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Women's Health Matters

http://womenshealthmatters.ca

References:

Cystoscopy. American Urological Association website. Available at: http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=77. Updated January 2011. Accessed April 17, 2013.

Cytoscopy and ureteroscopy. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at: http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/cystoscopy/. Updated March 28, 2012. Accessed April 17, 2013.

Last reviewed June 2013 by Adrienne Carmack, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.