Cystoscopy: What you should know

What is cystoscopy?

Cystoscopy is a diagnostic procedure used by doctors for various examinations of the bladder. In the procedure, a cystoscope is inserted through the urethra and to the bladder for the doctor to view inside the bladder. A cystoscope is a thin tube with a camera and light on one end. The camera will send images which will be magnified in a monitoring screen outside, through which the doctor can make the examination.

The urethra is a tubular structure that conducts urine from the bladder outside the body. It is located between the clitoris and vagina. There is no surgical alternative to cystoscopy. It is also called as cystourethroscopy. Cystoscopy will help the doctor to view inside urinary tract, opening of the ureters, the bladder etc.

Why is cystoscopy done?

Cystoscopy is done for various examinations regarding your urinary system and pelvic pain. It is also done in women after gynaecological surgery to ensure proper placement of support devices. The common reasons include:

  • To detect cancer, tumour, infection, narrowing, blockage in the bladder
  • Biopsy examinational requirements
  • Bladder stones which are calcium crystals which may cause inflammation, infections and other complications
  • Scarring or damaging as part of urinary tract infection
  • Injury in the urinary tract
  • Abnormalities in the kidney functions, urinary tract etc
  • Growth abnormalities

The procedure

The procedure of cystoscopy is performed with or without general anaesthesia. Sometimes the doctor may conduct the procedure under IV sedative as well. A numbing medicine will be used in the urethra so that you will not feel the discomfort, after which the cystoscope will be inserted through the urethra. It will be moved up till it reaches the urinary bladder. The doctor may put sterile water or saline into the bladder for better view. The examination of the underlying reason will be carried out after which the cystoscope will be taken out.

Your recovery after cystoscopy depends on the type of sedation as well as the reason for the procedure. In most cases, you will be discharged from the hospital on the same day if there are no further complications. You may feel a burning sensation for one day and frequent urination is also observed after cystoscopy. The doctor will advise you to drink plenty of fluids as well. You can start with the normal healthy diet and take rest for one or two days.

It is common to see blood stains in the urine after the procedure and will be get to normal in one or two days. You will be given medicine to avoid infections.

Risks of cystoscopy

Cystoscopy is comparatively a safe procedure without much risk. It is mostly done on out-patient basis. However, you should understand the signs and symptoms of urinary infection and consult your doctor if you develop any signs of infection.

The risks involved in cystoscopy include:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Bladder perforation or damage
  • Possible side-effects of anaesthesia if used
  • Fever in case of urinary infection