What Is Bladder Cystoscopy?

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  • Written By: Jacquelyn Gilchrist
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 06 December 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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A bladder cystoscopy, also called a cystourethroscopy, is a diagnostic procedure that evaluates the health of a patient's bladder and urethra. The doctor will insert an instrument called a cystoscope into the urethra and up to the bladder. This instrument allows the doctor to view images from inside the urinary tract and to look for any possible obstructions or abnormalities. A bladder cystoscopy may be performed under a local, regional, or general anesthetic, so that the patient does not feel any pain.

Patients may undergo this procedure if the doctor suspects they may have a urinary tract disorder, recurrent bladder infections, or similar medical problems. The physician may also recommend a bladder cystoscopy for patients who complain of painful urination, bloody urination, or urinary incontinence. It can help detect bladder tumors and cancer, inflammation of the bladder, and bladder stones. The cystoscope can also help a doctor diagnose an enlarged prostate gland.

If a general or a regional anesthetic is to be used, patients must arrange for someone else to drive them home after the procedure. It is also recommended that they plan to take the rest of the day off from work or school. In some cases, the doctor may prescribe an antibiotic to be taken before and after the procedure. Patients should empty their bladders immediately before the bladder cystoscopy. Some people may be requested to provide a urine sample.


To begin the cystoscopy, the doctor will administer the sedative and anesthetic and the patient will be asked to lie on a table with his feet in stirrups. The genital area will be sterilized and the doctor will insert the cystoscope into the urethra and toward the bladder. A sterile solution will be pumped into the bladder so that the doctor can view it more clearly. Sometimes, the doctor may take a small tissue sample. If he finds small tumors, he may be able to remove them with the cystoscope.

The entire procedure generally takes less than 30 minutes. Those who had regional or general anesthesia will be moved to a recovery room. Patients will be advised to drink at least four to six glasses of water daily to help alleviate irritation. Those who experience slight pain may hold a warm washcloth to the urethra opening.

A bladder cystoscopy may cause bloody urination, and patients should report this to the doctor if it persists after urinating three times. The physician should also be contacted if patients experience persistent or severe pain, a fever, or reduced urination. Rarely, a bladder cystoscopy may result in an infection or a worsened urinary tract infection.



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