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
Reasons for Procedure
Cystoscopy may be done to if you have the following symptoms:
- Repeated urinary tract infections
- Blood in the urine
- Urinary incontinence
- Frequent urination
- Dribbling after urination
- Pain during urination
- Difficulty urinating
Some abnormalities can be diagnosed through cystoscopy, including:
- Bladder stones
- Pouches on the bladder wall
- Ulcers on the bladder wall
- Narrowing of the urethra
- Enlargement of the prostate gland in men
Problems from this procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems. Complications may include:
- Damage of the bladder wall with the cystoscope—rare
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
- Active infection
- Bleeding disorder
Talk to your doctor about these risks before the procedure.
What to Expect
Local anesthesia is used to numb the area in and around the urethra. A sedative may also be given to help you relax.
Description of the Procedure
You will lie on an exam table. A cystoscope will be inserted 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.
How Much Will It Hurt?
Local anesthesia will keep you free from pain. You may feel some discomfort or the urge to urinate when the bladder is filled during the exam.
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 emergency medical services right away.
National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse
Urology Care Foundation
Women's Health Matters
Cystoscopy. Urology Care Foundation website. Available at: http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=77. Updated January 2011. Accessed January 12, 2015.
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 January 12, 2015.
Last reviewed January 2015 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.