Cystoscopy: Information And Tips You Must Know Before The Procedure Know Before The Procedure

Cystoscopy is a very simple and common diagnostic and investigative procedure of the urinary tract. The camera attached to the cystoscope gives the urologist a clear idea of the urinary bladder and it’s lining from inside of the organ. The procedure may or may not involve follow-ups and other procedures depending on your health condition and doctors diagnosis.

Cystoscopy Definition

Cystoscopy (cystourethroscopy) is a procedure that helps urologist to visualize the interior of the bladder and urethra in detail. The procedure is performed using a cystoscope, a thin tube with a camera and light on the end. Magnified images from the camera are displayed on the computer screen for the doctor to see them and diagnose.

Cystoscopy male and cystoscopy female is carried out by almost the same procedure

Cystoscopy male and cystoscopy female is carried out by almost the same procedure

Reasons To Perform Cystoscopy

Cystoscopy is a procedure performed to diagnose, monitor and treat conditions related to the bladder and urethra. The urologist might recommend the procedure to:

  • Diagnose causes of blockage or bleeding and various abnormalities of the urinary bladder and its lining.
  • Investigate various signs and symptoms including blood in urine, overactive bladder, bladder incontinence and painful urination.
  • Determine cause of urinary tract infections or UTIs (not in case of active UTIs).
  • Diagnose diseases like bladder cancer, stones and inflammation of bladder (cystitis).
  • Treat small bladder tumors using special tools along with the cystoscope.
  • Diagnose an enlarged prostate gland.

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Cystoscopy Preparation

  • Your doctor might ask you to take antibiotics before and after the procedure to fight off possible infections.
  • Your doctor might also ask for a urine sample just before the cystoscopy, so wait to empty your bladder.
  • Sedation will be required for carrying out this procedure. The doctor might choose from local, general or regional anesthesia during cystoscopy. You should plan ahead for your recovery as you’ll need someone to drive you back home after the procedure. In case of general or regional anesthesia you might have to stay back in the hospital for a few hours after cystoscopy.

Cystoscopy Preparation

Cystoscopy Procedure

Cystoscopy is mostly an outpatient procedure which is done to examine the conditions related to your bladder. The simple procedure might take 5 – 15 minutes. In some cases, the procedure needs to be carried out in the hospital under the effect of general or local anesthesia. This might take a bit longer, approx 30 minutes or until complete recovery from sedation.

It is a simple and safe procedure that involves the following steps:

1. Emptying of the bladder

Before the procedure begins you will be asked by the doctor to empty your bladder. Then you’ll wear a surgical gown and lie down on the examination table on your back. You’ll be positioned with your legs in stirrups and knees bent. The nurse may give you some antibiotics to prevent from bladder infections.

2. Anesthesia

You may be given a local anesthetic or a general anesthetic depending on the reason for which procedure is been carried out along with other recommendations from the doctor. If you are given sedatives before the procedure you’ll be sleepy and relaxed but are aware of the procedure being carried out. In case of general anesthesia you are not conscious so you’ll not be aware of what happened.

3. Insertion of cystoscope

The doctor will apply a gel or spray to numb the urethra before inserting the scope. The will help relieve discomfort and pain to an extent. The cystoscope is a thin, flexible or rigid, lighted tube with lenses. This will be passes slowly through the urethra using the smallest scope possible. The larger cystoscopes might be used to take tissue samples or the doctor needs to pass other instruments through the scope for further examination.

 Insertion of cystoscope

4. Examination of urethra and bladder

At the end of the tube there is a lens through which the doctor can see the internal view of the organs. It works like a mini telescope that magnifies the internal images and helps doctor to view the bladder more clearly. The doctor may insert a video camera to project the video images on the screen.

5. Infusion of fluid

Your doctor may infuse saline or sterile solutions through the scope to flood the bladder for a better view. At this stage you may feel the need to urinate but the urologist will encourage you to do so after the procedure.

6. Collection of tissue samples

If needed, the urologist will take tissue samples for testing or he may do other procedures during cystoscopy.

Cystoscopy Recovery

This is a simple procedure after which you might be allowed to resume your daily chores. In case you have been administered sedatives or general anesthesia during the procedure you might be asked to stay in the recovery area till the effects wear off.

You might experience burning sensation in the urethra or bleeding in urine for 12-24 hours. If pain increases and you have fever contact your health care provider.

Tips to relieve discomfort

  • Take a warm bath if doctor permits.
  • Hold a warm moist cloth over the urethral opening to relieve pain.
  • Drink ample of water to reduce bladder irritation by flushing out.
  • Don’t drink alcohol, drive or operate machines if you have had sedatives or general anesthesia.
  • Don’t lift heavy weights if you have undergone a biopsy. Ask your doctor if sex is safe to do until you heal.
  • Doctor might prescribe pain killers for relief.

Cystoscopy Side Effects

  • Burning sensation while urinating for 2-3 days.
  • Blood in urine
  • Sore and swollen urethra which makes urination difficult.
  • Bladder infection with symptoms like fever, nausea, smelling urine, and low back pain. You may need antibiotics.
  • Rare serious urethral bleeding.
  • Cystoscopy pain in the abdomen.

Cystoscopy Side Effects


The urologist will discuss the results immediately after the procedure. In case of biopsies, you may have to wait until the samples are tested in the lab. In normal cases, the bladder wall should appear smooth; bladder should be normal in size, shape and position; no blockages found and no abnormal tissues.

You doctor may decide to carry out other procedures to complete his diagnosis.

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Frequently Asked Question

Are you awake during a cystoscopy?

You are awake during the procedure. Only the operated area is numb during the operation.

What is a cystoscopy used to diagnose?

You are awake during the procedure. Only the operated area is numb during the operation.

How long will it be painful to be after a cystoscopy?

Cystoscopy used to diagnose monitor and treat bladder and urethra, It is mainly help in diagnosing the urinary tract infections.

How much does a cystoscopy cost?

The cost of a cystoscopy can range from a about $350-$3,000 approximately.

How painful is a rigid cystoscopy?

As in rigid cystoscopy the patient is given the general anesthesia (full asleep) that means its not at all painful for the patient .