What is a cystoscopy?

A cystoscopy, or cystourethroscopy, is a procedure where a lighted scope is inserted into the urethra through the opening at the end of the penis. It allows the doctor to visually examine the complete length of the urethra and the bladder for tumors, strictures (narrowing), prostate enlargement, and other problems.

Why is the test performed?

  • To diagnose and evaluate disorders of the urinary tract
  • To identify cancers of the bladder or urethra
  • To determine the cause of pain in the urinary tract

How does the test work?

During the procedure, water is inserted through the cystoscope and into your bladder. Your healthcare provider will ask you a series of questions about how you feel while your bladder is filled. When the bladder is full of water, it gently stretches. This allows your physician to view the entire bladder wall.

If any tissue appears abnormal, a biopsy (tissue sample) can be taken through the cystoscope to be analyzed.

The entire procedure, including preparation, generally takes about 15 to 20 minutes. The actual examination portion of the procedure generally takes less than 5 minutes.

Does the test hurt?

You may feel some discomfort as the cystoscope is advanced through the prostate into the bladder. You may feel a strong need to urinate when the water fills the bladder. If a biopsy is taken, you may feel a slight pinch.

After the procedure, the urethra may be slightly sore with a mild burning sensation during urination. You also may have small amounts of blood in the urine for a day or two.

What are the risks of cystoscopy?

  • Infection
  • Bleeding from biopsy area (low risk)

When should I call the doctor?

Contact the urologist if you experience:

  • Severe pain at the insertion site
  • Fever higher than 101.5 degrees
  • A reduction in urine flow

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 2/22/2017...#8529