When diagnosing certain urological problems, a physician may perform a Cystoscopy. This is a specific diagnostic tool that allows a view inside the bladder and the urethra using a medical instrument known as a cystoscope. This instrument is inserted into the urethra and carefully advanced into the bladder in order to examine areas of the urological system that remain hidden even on X-Rays. During the procedure, surgical instruments can also be inserted that will allow the doctor to remove samples of tissue for biopsy as well as other biological samples. In addition, small bladder stones and other small growths can be removed which may eliminate the need for more extensive surgery.

There are many reasons that a diagnostic Cystoscopy may be performed:

  • Reveal causes of symptoms such as blood in the urine; painful urination; urinary incontinence; inability to pass urine; or a sudden and overwhelming need to urinate.
  • Examination of the urinary tract for blockages, an enlarged prostate, kidney stones, or tumors.
  • Implant catheters or stents to aid in urine flow.
The procedure is generally performed using a local, spinal, or general anesthesia by an urologist in a clinical testing room, in a hospital, or a doctor’s office. After the cystoscope is inserted, a sterile fluid is injected through the scope to help expand your bladder and to create a clear view for mapping; medicine may also be injected to reduce chances of infection. The cystoscope is usually in your bladder for about ten minutes and most people report that the procedure is not nearly as uncomfortable as they had expected.

Concerning the after effects of anesthesia, patients feel nothing during the test; however, once the anesthetic wears off patients have reported feeling tired, achy, and nauseous.  If a local anesthetic is used, patients may experience a burning sensation when the instrument is inserted and removed. When a spinal anesthetic is used, patients may find it uncomfortable to lie curled up while the anesthetic is injected.

The Cystoscopy procedure itself is generally very safe. The most common side effect is difficulty urinating due to a temporary swelling of the urethra. Sometimes, a catheter is inserted to help drain the urine until the swelling subsides. While bleeding sometimes occurs, it will usually stop on its own after a few days or a week.

After a cystoscopy, some patients have reported experiencing a mild urinary tract infection and can usually be prevented or treated by taking medicine before and after the test. Following the procedure, frequent urination accompanied by a burning sensation may present for a day or two may present. In order to minimize these after effects and minimize a subsequent urinary tract infection, consumption of large amounts of fluids is recommended.

While a pinkish tinge to the urine is common for several days following the cystoscopy, it is important to notify an urologist immediately if the patient experiences any of the following:
  • The urine remains red or if blood clots present
  • Inability to urinate eight hours following the test
  • Onset of fever, chills, or severe abdominal which may be signs of a kidney infection