Cystoscopy

Bladder cystoscopy

A cystoscopy is a procedure used to see inside your bladder to diagnose any problems in your urethra or bladder

About

Your consultant might suggest you have a cystoscopy to help diagnose any problems in your bladder or urethra. Examples include looking for causes of infection, bleeding or to help identify the cause of incontinence or other bladder issues. The procedure is quite quick and usually takes around 10 minutes.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    Your cystoscopy may be carried out under local anaesthetic (flexible cystoscopy for outpatients) or general anaesthetic or sedation (day case admission to hospital). For local anaesthetic, a gel will numb the area around your urethra. For sedation, you'll have an injection. You'll be lying on your back when your consultant gently inserts the cystoscope (a thin tube with a camera) into your urethra. The cystoscope creates an image of inside of your bladder on screen. Sometimes sterile water is pumped into your bladder to give a clearer picture. Your consultant may take a tissue sample (biopsy).
  • How to prepare icon plus

    A cystoscopy isn't right for everyone so your consultant will ask you questions to make sure it's the appropriate treatment for you. You might have to give a urine sample. If you have a urinary tract infection (UTI), you won't be able to have a bladder cystoscopy until the infection has been treated. Your consultant will also let you know which type of cystoscopy you need to have. Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects. Your consultant will explain these to you. If you're having a general anaesthetic or a sedative, you should arrange for someone to take you home.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    You can usually leave the hospital straight after your cystoscopy but you might need to wait a few hours or, in occasional cases, stay overnight. Your consultant will prescribe you an antibiotic to help stop any infections developing after the procedure. If your consultant has taken a biopsy, you may have a little discomfort and blood in your urine for a short while afterwards. You might feel some discomfort and bloating but these symptoms should disappear quite quickly. If you feel any pain or ongoing discomfort, let your consultant know. Sometimes you may be able to get your results straight after your procedure but it may take a few days.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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