A cystoscopy is a procedure done by a urologist, a doctor specializing in the urinary system. During a cystectomy, the urologist uses a scope to look at the inside of the bladder, where urine is stored, and in the urethra, the channel that urine flows through out of the bladder.
A cystoscopy may also be used to remove something that shouldn’t be there, such as a bladder stone, or to take a biopsy (a sample of tissue) from the bladder lining to analyze it in the lab for further information.
The procedure can also help with placing a catheter, which is a thin drainage tube for urine.
The cystoscopy procedure is ordered by the urologist when more information is needed about what is happening inside the lower urinary tract. Most often it is used to check for any problems in the bladder and its lining. The procedure is also an important tool to identify what may be causing abnormal problems, such as:
Before the procedure is recommended, the urologist will ask about the patient’s medical history, current prescription and over-the-counter medications, and allergies to medications, including anesthetics. The urologist will explain what the patient can expect after the procedure.
The patient may need to give a urine sample to test for a urinary tract infection (UTI). If the patient has a UTI, the urologist may treat the infection with antibiotics before performing a cystoscopy.
The urologist or nurse may ask the patient to drink plenty of liquids, and to urinate immediately before the procedure.
The cystoscopy procedure usually takes about 30 minutes and is done on an outpatient basis. The urologist will recommend that the patient empty his or her bladder before the procedure begins. The step-by-step process may be similar to this:
During the brief procedure, the urologist examines the lining of the urethra as the cystoscope passes through it and then into the bladder. Once the cystoscope reaches the bladder, the urologist examines the lining of the bladder. During the procedure, the urologist can remove a bladder stone or take a biopsy if needed.
Sometimes a monitor is set up in the doctor’s office so that both the urologist and patient can watch the procedure as it is taking place.
The urologist will be looking for anything that appears unusual. The bladder wall should be smooth, and there should not be any blockages in the lower urinary tract. During a cystoscopy, the urologist is able to see:
During a cystoscopy, the urologist may be able to treat minor problems such as bleeding in the bladder or blockage in the urethra. The urologist may also use a cystoscopy to:
Typically, a cystoscopy is done in the urologist’s office and afterwards most patients go home the same day as the procedure. Sometimes after a cystoscopy procedure, the patient may:
These problems should not last more than a day after the procedure. If pain persists, bloody urine lasts longer than 48 hours, or the patient develops a fever, the patient should call the doctor.
Occasionally, the patient may have an increase in urinary frequency for the first 24 hours after the procedure. There may be also a change in the color of the urine (it may be darker, or look pink or red due to mild bleeding). This is common, especially if a biopsy was taken.
After the procedure, the urologist may recommend that the patient:
If necessary, the urologist may prescribe an antibiotic to take for a couple of days after the procedure to prevent an infection. If you have severe pain, chills, or fever (these could be signs of an infection), it is important to call the urologist’s office and explain the symptoms.
Every patient is different, and the urologist will take into consideration each patient’s specific medical history when explaining possible complications from the procedure. Although minimal, the risks of cystoscopy may include:
If any of the following symptoms occur after a cystoscopy, you should call the urologist right away:
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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 healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 07/05/2017