Cystoscopy is an exam of the bladder. It is done with a special lighted scope, called a cystoscope. The scope allows the doctor to look through the urethra and into the bladder.
Cystoscopy may be done to investigate the following symptoms:
Some abnormalities can be diagnosed through cystoscopy, including:
Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have cystoscopy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the procedure.
This procedure is usually done in your doctor's office. In some cases, cystoscopy may be done while you are having another procedure. If you will be having general anesthesia, your doctor may instruct you to:
This depends on where you have the procedure:
You will lie on an exam table. The doctor will insert a cystoscope 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 clean water. This will allow a better view of the bladder walls. The bladder, urethra, and prostate gland (in male patients) will be examined.
You may feel stinging or burning when urinating. Your doctor may give you pain medicine.
When you return home after the procedure, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
American Urological Association
National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse
Women's Health Matters
Campbell MF, Walsh PC. Campbell's Urology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Company;1998.
Cystoscopy. American Urological Association website. Available at: http://www.urologyhealth.org/search/index.cfm?topic=277&search=cystoscopy&searchtype=or. Accessed July 22, 2008.
Last reviewed October 2009 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.
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