A Closer Look
Cystoscopy is a procedure that lets your doctor look directly inside your urethra and bladder. Cystoscopy can be used to help diagnose a problem with your urethra, bladder, or kidneys. This procedure can be used to take a sample (biopsy) of bladder or urethral tissue. It can be used for treating certain problems (such as removing kidney stones). Cystoscopy can also help take special x-rays of the kidneys.

What is a cystoscope?
Cystoscopy is done using a cystoscope, a telescope-like instrument that contains special lenses. The cystoscope also contains fiberoptics, small glass wires that make a bright light. The cystoscope may be straight and rigid, or it may be flexible to bend around curves in the urethra.

What to Tell Your Doctor

Tell your doctor before the exam if you:
  • Take any medications, especially aspirin or blood thinners
  • Have allergies to any medications
  • Are pregnant
Getting Ready

To help prepare for the procedure, do the following:
  • Stop taking any medications as instructed.
  • Plan for the appointment to take 30 to 60 minutes.
  • If the procedure is being done in the hospital, ask whether you should avoid eating or drinking anything after midnight before the procedure.
  • Follow any other instructions your doctor gives you.
The Procedure
Cystoscopy is done in the doctor's office or hospital. The doctor and sometimes a nurse are present during the procedure. It takes only a few minutes, longer if a biopsy, x-ray, or treatment needs to be done.

During the Procedure
  • You lie on an exam table on your back, with your knees bent and legs apart. You are covered with a drape.
  • Your urethra and the areas around it is washed.
  • Anesthetic jelly may be applied to numb the urethra. Other pain medication is usually not necessary. In some cases, you may be offered a mild sedative to help your relax.
  • The cystoscope is inserted. A sterile fluid is put into the bladder to expand it. You may feel pressure from this fluid.
  • If a biopsy or minor treatment is needed, it can be done through the cystoscope. Your doctor can discuss this with you before beginning.
  • When the procedure is done, the cystoscope is removed.
After the Procedure
  • You can go home when the procedure is done. If you had IV sedation, have someone drive you home.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • You may have burning or light bleeding when you urinate. This is normal.
  • Call your doctor if you have: heavy bleeding or blood clots, burning that lasts more than a day, a fever over 101 degrees Fahrenheit, or trouble urinating.
Your Urinary Tract
The urinary tract helps your body get rid of liquid waste (urine). The two kidneys collect unneeded chemicals and water, making urine. The urine then travels through long tubes called ureters to the bladder. The bladder stores urine until you are ready to release it. The urethra is the canal that carries urine from the bladder out of the body.

Finding Out the Results

Your doctor will discuss the results of your cystoscopy with you. If you had a biopsy, the results may take a week or more. Based on the findings of your cystoscopy, your doctor may recommend other tests or treatments.

Notice: Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.