Cystoscopy, or cystourethroscopy, is a procedure that enables a urologist to view the inside of the bladder and urethra in great detail. It is commonly used to diagnose bladder tumors, identify obstruction of the bladder and look for any abnormalities of the bladder and its lining.
The procedure is usually performed as an outpatient procedure in a urology clinic or treatment room. Prior to the procedure, the patient will need to empty their bladder and will then be positioned on an examination table. After administration of local anesthesia, a cystoscope is inserted through the urethra into the bladder. The cystoscope is a thin, lighted tube that is either flexible or rigid. Water or saline is then instilled into the bladder through the cystoscope. As the fluid fills the bladder, the bladder wall is stretched thus allowing detailed viewing by the urologist. Under normal conditions, the bladder wall should appear smooth and the bladder should be normal size, shape and position and there should not be any blockages. If any tissue in the bladder wall appears abnormal, a small sample can be removed through the cystoscope to be analyzed.
The average cystoscopy takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
After the cystoscope is removed, the patient’s urethra may be sore and they may feel a burning sensation for up to 48 hours. If discomfort persists, fever develops or urine appears bright red, a physician should be notified.