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Bladder cytoscopy


About bladder cytoscopy

Bladder cytoscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to see inside your bladder. During a bladder cytoscopy, a cytoscope – a narrow tube with a lens at the tip – is inserted through your urethra and into your bladder. The urethra is the tube that urine passes through when leaving your bladder to outside of your body.

Cytoscopy is carried out to diagnose problems in your bladder or urethra. Examples include looking for signs of infection, bleeding or to help identify the cause of incontinence or other bladder issues. Talk to your doctor about why he or she has recommended one.

During a bladder cytoscopy, your doctor may use additional instruments to take a tissue sample from your bladder. This is analysed in a lab to help diagnose your problem.

How can I prepare for bladder cytoscopy?

Before you undergo a bladder cytoscopy, your doctor will first evaluate you to ensure that it is safe for you to have the procedure. This might involve giving a urine sample. If you have a serious infection of your urinary tract, you won't be able to have a bladder cytoscopy.

Bladder cytoscopy is usually carried out under a local or a general anaesthetic. Alternatively, it may be carried out under a sedative. You should arrange for a friend or family member to help you home if you are having a general anaesthetic or sedative, as you will not be to drive yourself.

Before the procedure, talk to your doctor and ask him or her to explain the procedure. You should also ensure that you tell your doctor about any medications that you're taking.

What happens during my treatment?

If you are having a local anaesthetic, your doctor will use a gel or spray to numb your genital area and your urethra. If you are having it sedative, this will be injected and will help to relax you. If you have a general anaesthetic you won't be awake.

You will be positioned or asked to lie on your back. Your doctor will gently insert the cytoscope into your urethra. He or she will then slowly sweep it around to visualise the inside of your bladder on a screen.Sometimes sterile water will be pumped into the bladder to make room. Your doctor may take a tissue sample if he sees something he wishes the lab to analyse in detail.

The procedure usually takes around 10 minutes.

Are there any complications or risks with bladder cytoscopy?

Like any procedure, bladder cytoscopy carries some risk of complications. However these are not usually serious. They include developing an infection in your urinary tract, blood in your urine, pain while peeing and minor injury to the urethra. Talk to your doctor for more information about the risks of bladder cytoscopy.

Recovering from bladder cytoscopy

You will usually be able to leave the hospital on the day of your bladder cytoscopy. If you have a general anaesthetic it may mean an overnight stay however.

Your doctor will prescribe you an antibiotic to help prevent any infection from developing after the procedure. Sometimes your doctor will be able to tell you what he has found out as soon as you recover from your anaesthetic. However, if you have had a biopsy it usually takes a few days to get the results.

How much does bladder cytoscopy cost?

For a guide to what you could pay for your treatment, click here.

What to do now

Once you have decided that you would like to be treated at an HCA hospital, or would like further information, here's what to do next: 

  1. Call one of our advisors on + 44 (0) 20 7079 4399 or complete our web enquiry form.
  2. Check with your insurance company that your policy covers your treatment, and obtain authorisation.
  3. Visit or call your GP to obtain a referral letter and then call us to make an appointment to visit your chosen consultant and hospital at a time to suit you.
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