During this procedure your urologist views the inside lining of the bladder using a rigid or flexible cystoscope.  Cystoscopy is performed through the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine from your bladder to the outside of your body.  Cystoscopy may be performed for various reasons, but the most common reason is to rule out any bladder pathology that may be causing blood in the urine.  The following are other possible symptoms that would require a cystoscopy:

  • Frequent urinary tract infections.
  • Blood in your urine (hematuria).
  • Urinary Incontinence
  • Unusual cells found in a urine sample.
  • Persistent pain when you pass urine.
  • Difficulty in passing urine (which may be due to prostate enlargement or a stricture (narrowing) of the urethra).

What Happens During a Cystoscopy?

Cystoscopy is done in the office on an outpatient basis.

You will be asked to lie on your back on the exam table.  The opening to your urethra and the nearby skin will be cleaned.  Some ‘jelly’ is then squirted into the opening of the urethra.  The jelly contains a local anesthetic to numb the lining of the urethra.  This helps the cystoscope to pass into the urethra with as little discomfort as possible. The doctor will then gently push the cystoscope up into the bladder. The doctor will look carefully at the lining of the urethra and bladder.   Sterile water is passed down a side channel in the cystoscope to slowly fill your bladder. This makes it easier for the doctor to see the lining of the bladder.  As your bladder fills you will feel the urge to pass urine which may be uncomfortable.  A cystoscopy takes about 5-10 minutes.

Depending on your urologist, the cystoscope may be attached to video equipment that will allow the doctor to view the inside of your bladder on a TV monitor. The cystoscope is then gently pulled out.  Your urologist may tell you what they saw inside your bladder right after the examination. You will be given 1-2 days of antibiotics for infection prevention.

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