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What is Cystoscopy?

Cystoscopy is an invasive procedure in which a cystoscope, a thin tube, is inserted in the bladder through the urethra to examine the insides of the bladder and the urethra. The tube, which has a lens for viewing, may be flexible or rigid. Though the flexible cystoscope is preferred because of the ease with which it advances along the curves of the urethra, the rigid scope permits the introduction of tiny devices for different procedures.

Why is it conducted?

A cystoscopy is carried out for diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of conditions related to the lower urinary tract. These include urinary incontinence, obstruction, tumors, cancer and stones.

Who should go for it?

  • Persons who suffer from urinary incontinence or repeated UTI may be advised this test to look for the cause.
  • Persons who have blood or unusual cells in their urine are often advised this test.
  • People who face difficulty or pain while passing urine.
  • Persons who have had an IVP (intravenous pyelogram) with inconclusive results.
  • This test is also used for monitoring persons who have had tumors to look for recurrence.
  • Cystoscopy may also be carried out for stenting or widening of urethra in case of narrowing or for removal of small stones, tumors or polyps.
  • It can also be used to inject a dye so that the ureters and the kidneys are clearly highlighted for x-rays (retrograde pyelogram).
  • The prostate gland can also be removed with the help of cystoscopy.


A cystoscopy may be carried out with a local anesthesia if a flexible cystoscope is being used. However, general anesthesia is preferred for rigid cystoscope as it can be painful, especially for males.

The procedure begins with cleaning the genital area and spraying a numbing agent to minimize discomfort. A lubricated cystoscope is gradually inserted into the bladder through the urethra. Sterile water is then filled in the bladder so that the bladder can be visualized more clearly. The patient may feel the need to urinate but will be expected to hold till the end of the procedure. Normally, if the cystoscopy is being carried out only for examination, then it should take less than 10 minutes. However, it may take longer if a procedure is being carried out, such as, removal of stones or polyps.

A burning sensation while urinating is expected afterwards, but this should clear out in a day or so. A pinkish hue in the urine is also normal as there may be slight bleeding. Drinking lots of fluids to flush out the system will be helpful. Though all precautions are taken, in rare cases some people may get urinary infection. In this case, get in touch with your doctor if you develop fever and pain while urinating.

Generally, a cystoscopy is not carried out if there is any existing infection in the lower urinary tract or the prostate gland.

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Interpretation of results

It is possible for the doctor who performs the test to share the reports immediately. However, if a biopsy has been done, then its results will be available later. The urologist generally checks for inflammation, presence of any abnormal growth, stones, narrowing of the urethras, any kind of swelling and congenital abnormalities in the structure. Besides this, in males the prostate is checked for swelling and in females prolapse of the pelvic organs will also be noted.

Written by: health[lus24.com team

Date last updated: February 03, 2015

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