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HealthInfo Canterbury

Cystoscopy

Cystoscopy (sis-toss-copy) is when a thin tube (called a cystoscope) is passed through your urethra (where you pass urine from) into your bladder.

The cystoscope is a special telescope that allows doctors to look into your urethra and bladder. It's about as thick as a pencil and flexible so it can easily pass through your urethra. Doctors can also use the cystoscope to take a sample (biopsy) from your bladder if needed.

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

What should I expect during the procedure?

A cystoscopy is usually done in the Outpatient Department. 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 used when the cystoscope is inserted. The cystoscopy can be uncomfortable but it shouldn't be painful. Once the cystoscope is in your bladder, it's usually more comfortable.

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

Do I need to do anything special for the cystoscopy?

No. You can eat and drink as normal before the cystoscopy. You can go home the same day and you can drive yourself home.

Are there any side effects from a cystoscopy?

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 should I see a doctor?

You should see your GP after the procedure if you have severe abdominal (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. Page created December 2017.

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