A cystoscopy is a procedure to look into your bladder by passing a small telescope through your urethra (the tube you pass urine through).
The procedure can be performed with a flexible or rigid cystoscope. Flexible cystoscopy can be performed in our office in Brisbane City.
WHY IS CYSTOSCOPY REQUIRED?
Cystoscopy is performed to investigate and treat a range of problems with the bladder and the urethra. Common reasons for a cystoscopy include:
- Blood in the urine.
- Recurrent urinary tract infections.
- Urinary symptoms such as frequency, urgency, incontinence, and difficulty voiding.
- Abnormalities of the wall of the bladder requiring a biopsy.
- If you have had a bladder cancer, regular cystoscopy is required to make sure the cancer hasn’t returned.
- If you have a ureteric stent, a cystoscopy is performed to remove the stent.
WHAT DOES FLEXIBLE CYSTOSCOPY INVOLVE?
A flexible cystoscopy usually only takes a few minutes. It can be performed while you are awake or with sedation. Flexible cystoscopy can be performed in our offices in Brisbane City (awake only), or in a hospital.
Your genital area is cleaned. We instil a lubricating jelly into your urethra. We pass a thin flexible telescope through your urethra into your bladder. Sometimes there is mild discomfort as the telescope is passed into your bladder.
Once the telescope is in your bladder, we fill your bladder with sterile water and inspect your bladder.
When the examination of your bladder is completed we remove the telescope. You are then able to get dressed and empty your bladder.
If you have a flexible cystoscopy done at a hospital, it is usually performed as day surgery – you can go home on the same day as the procedure.
WHAT DOES RIGID CYSTOSCOPY INVOLVE?
A rigid cystoscopy is performed under general or spinal anaesthetic in a hospital.
We pass a telescope through your urethra into the bladder. Once the telescope is in your bladder, we fill your bladder with sterile water and inspect your bladder.
If required, during the cystoscopy we can:
- Dilate a urethral stricture.
- Take biopsies.
- Cauterise bleeding.
- Remove a ureteric stent.
- Inject your bladder with botox.
- Remove foreign bodies.
- Hydrodistend (stretch out) your bladder.
Your bladder is emptied at the end of the procedure. Sometimes a catheter (tube through your urethra into your bladder to drain urine) is placed at the end of the procedure.
The procedure is usually performed as day surgery – you can go home on the same day as the procedure as long as you are accompanied by a responsible adult. If you have a catheter at the end of the procedure you may need to stay in hospital overnight.
WHAT IS THE RECOVERY AFTER CYSTOSCOPY?
- You may notice blood in the urine for a day or two after cystoscopy.
- You may notice mild burning and stinging when passing urine for a day or two after cystoscopy.
- If you have the procedure while awake you can usually return to work the same day.
- If you have a sedation, general anaesthetic, or spinal anaesthetic, you can usually return to work one to two days after the procedure.
- If you have sedation, general anaesthetic, or spinal anaesthetic, you will not be able to drive for 24 hours after the procedure.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF CYSTOSCOPY?
Occasional risks (1/10 – 1/50)
- Urinary tract infection requiring antibiotics.
Rare risks (1/50 – 1/250)
- Significant bleeding in the urine requiring another procedure to correct.
- Damage to the urethra causing scaring.
Very rare risks (< 1/250)
- Damage to the bladder requiring another procedure to correct.
The risks of anaesthesia have not been listed here.
WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVE TREATMENT OPTIONS?
Scans and urine tests are an alternative way to investigate problems with the bladder and urethra. Often they aren’t as reliable as directly inspecting your bladder with cystoscopy.
WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CYSTOSCOPY?
- Smith, J. A., Howards, S. S., Preminger, G. M., & Hinman, F. (2012). Hinman’s Atlas of urologic surgery. Philadelphia: Elsevier/Saunders.
- Cancer Research UK, CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)
This is general information only. Please consult your doctor for more information and treatment options.