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 of the Bladder

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Reasons for Procedure

Cystoscopy may be done to investigate the following symptoms:

Some abnormalities can be diagnosed through cystoscopy, including:

  • Tumors
  • Bladder stones
  • Inflammation
  • Cysts
  • Outpouchings of the bladder wall (]]>diverticula]]>)
  • Open sores (]]>ulcers]]>)
  • Polyps
  • Narrowing of the urethra
  • Enlargement of the ]]>prostate gland]]> (in men)


Possible Complications

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:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Accidental damage of the bladder wall with the cystoscope (very rare)

Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Active infection
  • Diabetes]]>
  • Bleeding disorder

Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the procedure.


What to Expect

Prior to 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:

  • Arrange to have someone drive you home.
  • Avoid eating or drinking after midnight the night before the procedure.


This depends on where you have the procedure:

  • Local anesthesia—The immediate area is numbed. It may be given as an intraurethral gel. A sedative may also be given to help you relax. This is used when the procedure is done in a doctor's office.
  • ]]>Regional anesthesia]]>—This blocks pain to a larger area of the body. It may be used if the procedure is done in a hospital.
  • ]]>General anesthesia]]>—You will be asleep. It is given through an IV in your hand or arm. This option may be used if the procedure is done in a hospital.

Description of 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.

How Long Will It Take?

5-10 minutes

How Much Will It Hurt?

You may feel stinging or burning when urinating. Your doctor may give you pain medicine.

Post-procedure Care

When you return home after the procedure, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:

  • Keep in mind that you may see some blood in your urine for a few days.
  • Take any medicines prescribed as directed, including antibiotics if they are given.
  • Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions.

Call Your Doctor

After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • 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
  • Abdominal, back, or flank pain
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
In case of an emergency, call 911.