Cystoscopy is a procedure that allows a urologist to view the inside of the bladder and urethra. The procedure uses a cystoscope and is most often performed during an in-office visit. Depending on the medical condition and overall health of the patient, it may also be performed in a surgical center.
When is a cystoscopy recommended?
A cystoscope is a versatile tool that is commonly used by urologists to aid in the investigation and diagnosis of several medical conditions. It is used to analyze the health of the urethra and bladder, as well as identify urinary blockages. A cystoscopy is routinely used to evaluate the following:
- Blood in the urine.
- Bladder inflammation.
- Examine the bladder lining for cancer.
- Possible blockage caused by an enlarged prostate.
- Suspicion of bladder stones.
- Recurrent urinary tract infections.
- Urethral cancer.
- Possible foreign bodies in the bladder. Foreign bodies may include a stitch or suture left in the bladder after surgery, mesh or mesh erosion, or an object that was placed inside the bladder.
- Urinary stricture.
- Urinary fistula.
- For stent removal after the removal of kidney or ureteral stones.
- Bladder tumor that may be causing overactive bladder symptoms.
How is a cystoscopy performed?
A cystoscopy is a very short procedure that takes very little preparation, and does not require general anesthesia.
Prior to the procedure, the patient will be asked to empty their bladder. Once in the exam room, they will be positioned on an examination table and injected with a topical anesthesia – most often Lidocaine. With the application of Lidocaine, the patient should not experience pain during the procedure, however, they may feel some discomfort.
During the procedure, a cystoscope (a thin, lighted instrument) will slowly be inserted through the urethra into the bladder. Water or saline will then be instilled into the bladder through the cystoscope. As the fluid fills the bladder, the bladder wall stretches, allowing detailed viewing by the urologist. If any tissue in the bladder wall appears abnormal, a small sample can be removed through the cystoscope for analysis.
What to expect after the cystoscopy
After the cystoscope is removed, the patient may experience any of the following:
- Blood in the urine.
- Burning during urination.
- Painful urination.
- Frequent urination.
- Urinary retention – This can be an emergency situation.
- Urinary Tract Infection.
In the unlikely event that discomfort persists, fever develops or the urine appears bright red, contact your physician.