Cystoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that uses a cystoscope, which is an endoscope especially designed for urological use to examine the bladder, lower urinary tract, and prostate gland. It can also be used to collect urine samples, perform biopsies, and remove small stones. A Cystoscopy is performed by urologists to examine the entire bladder lining and take biopsies of any questionable areas.
Patients may be asked to give a urine sample before cystoscopy to check for infection and to avoid urinating for an hour before this part of the procedure. A hospital gown is worn during the procedure and the lower part of the body is covered with a sterile drape. A sedative may be given about one hour prior to the operation to help the patient relax. The region of the urethra is cleansed and a local anesthetic is applied. Before the procedure, your doctor will explain what will happen and the risks involved. You’ll be asked to sign a consent form to show you have understood and to give permission for the procedure to be carried out.
In most cases, a cystoscopy can be carried out on an outpatient basis, which means you’ll be able to go home on the same day. A cystoscopy generally takes about 5-20 minutes to perform. Time for the procedure will vary based on the reason why the cystoscopy is being performed and what is discovered during the procedure. You will be asked to lay on an exam table and place your feet in stirrups. If a local anesthetic is used, it will be inserted into the urethra. Local anesthetics during a cystoscopy procedure are in the form of gel or other jelly-like substance.
After you are numb, the doctor will then insert the scope into your urethra and thread it through to the bladder. A solution of saline or sterile water will then flood the bladder via the cystoscope. You will likely feel some pressure and have the urge to empty your bladder. The solution expands the bladder, allowing the doctor to get a more detailed view.
If an abnormal growth is discovered, a biopsy may be done during the cystoscopy. It will only take a few seconds for your doctor to obtain a tissue sample. The sample will then be sent to a lab for further testing. At the end of the cystoscopy, the doctor will remove the cystoscope and you will be allowed to empty your bladder.
Recovery depends on the type of anesthesia that was used. If only local anesthetic is used, you can go home immediately. For other people, a recovery period of 1-4 hours is necessary. During this observation period, the anesthetic will wear off, and you will need to be able to urinate prior to leaving. You might also experience side effects after cystoscopy, such as:
- Bleeding from your urethra, which can appear bright pink in your urine or on toilet tissue
- A burning sensation during urination
- More frequent urination for the next day or two
Following the procedure give yourself plenty of time to rest. Be sure to drink lots of fluids and stay close to the bathroom. Holding a damp, warm washcloth over your urethra can also help to relieve any pain you may experience.