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Cystoscopy

A cystoscopy (sis-toss-copy) is a procedure that lets a doctor see into your urethra (the tube you pass urine through) and bladder.

A cystoscope is a special telescope that's passed through your urethra into your bladder. It's about as thick as a pencil and flexible so it can easily pass through your urethra.

Reasons for having a cystoscopy

Cystoscopy can be used to help find what's causing symptoms like:

The doctor can also use the cystoscope to take a sample (biopsy) from your bladder if needed.

How a cystoscopy is done

A cystoscopy is usually done in the Outpatients Department of a hospital. Occasionally, it might be done in an operating theatre. Your appointment letter will tell you where you need to go.

You'll be awake during the procedure.

A local anaesthetic jelly is placed into your urethra. This makes inserting the cystoscope more comfortable for you.

The cystoscopy isn't usually painful, but it can be uncomfortable. Once the cystoscope is in your bladder, it's usually more comfortable. The cystoscope is removed when the examination is finished.

The procedure often only takes five to 10 minutes, but it may take longer if you need a biopsy.

Before and after the cystoscopy

You can eat and drink as normal before the cystoscopy. You can go home the same day and you can drive yourself home.

It's useful to drink extra fluids in the first few hours after the procedure.

Risks or possible complications

Cystoscopy is usually very safe. You may feel some stinging or burning when you pass urine for the first day or so after the cystoscopy. You may have a little blood in your urine the first time you pass urine after the procedure.

There's a small risk of a urine infection, which can cause pain when you pass urine, make you pass urine more often, or make you feel unwell with a fever.

Very rarely, the procedure could cause damage to your bladder.

When to see a doctor

You should see your GP after the procedure if you have severe stomach pain or keep passing blood when you pass urine. You should also see your GP if you think you might have a urine infection.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by clinical director, Urology, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed November 2019.

Sources

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Review key: HICYC-433367