A cystoscopy can be performed as a treatment approach, or to investigate or diagnose a condition.

There are many circumstances in which a physician may determine that a cystoscopy is either necessary or potentially beneficial. One of the most common reasons is recurring urinary tract infections. However, a cystoscopy typically can not be performed while an infection is active. There are several other reasons why a cystoscopy may be recommended.

  • If a patient begins to experience urinary incontinence, a cystoscopy will likely be ordered to determine the cause.
  • Other reasons include pain during urination and bladder cancer. In some cases, a physician may even order a cystoscopy in order to follow up on previous or ongoing treatment.

How Does a Cystoscopy Work?

A cystoscope is a tube with a camera on the end that allows for diagnostic and investigative procedures. There are many different sizes depending on what all the physician needs to accomplish. For example, if a tissue sample is needed, the larger size will need to be used.

Prior to performing the procedure, the physician will have the patient empty their bladder. Next, the patient will lay on a table with their legs propped up and their knees bent. At this point, sedatives or anesthetics will be administered intravenously. Then, numbing gel will be placed on the urethra. This will minimize any pain or discomfort.

Once the area is numb, the physician will insert the cystoscope into the urethra. Sterile fluid will fill the bladder to allow a good picture of the inside of the bladder. The physician might take a tissue sample while the cystosope is in the bladder. Once they have the images and tissues needed, the cystoscope will be removed.

The patient can expect the entire procedure to be complete within fifteen to thirty minutes. Since the bladder is filled with fluid during the procedure, the patient will feel an urgent need to urinate following the procedure. This is expected and not an indication of a complication.


Are There Any Risks?

As with any medical procedure, there are some risks involved with a cystoscopy. Comparatively speaking, the risks associated are minimal. One of the most common side effects of a cystoscopy is pain. This includes bladder pain and pain during urination. Typically, this is at its highest immediately following the procedure and fades over time.

Another potential side effect is bleeding. Some light bleeding is not unexpected and is a result of entry trauma to the urethra. Some patients could experience infection after a cystoscopy, which can be treated with antibiotics.