Cystoscopy (Bladder Examination)
A cystoscopy is a medical procedure used to examine the inside of the bladder. It’s carried out using a cystoscope, a thin, fibreoptic tube that has a light and a camera at one end.
You may need to have a cystoscopy if you experience symptoms that suggest there’s something wrong with your bladder. For example:
• Urinary incontinence – the involuntary passing of urine
• Blood in your urine (haematuria)
• Persistent pelvic pain
• Pain or a burning sensation when you pass urine (dysuria)
• Frequently needing to urinate
• Having a sudden urge to urinate
• Not being able to pass urine or only being able to pass urine intermittently (‘stop-start’)
• Having a feeling that your bladder isn’t completely empty after passing urine
The cystoscope is inserted into the urethra and is moved up into the bladder. The camera relays images to a screen where they can be seen by the urologist (specialist in treating bladder conditions).
There are two types of cystoscope:
1. Flexible cystoscope – a thin, flexible tube used when the only purpose of a cystoscopy is to look inside your bladder
2. Rigid cystoscope – a thin, straight metal tube that’s used for passing small surgical instruments down through the cystoscope to remove a tissue sample or to carry out treatment
Most cystoscopies are performed as outpatient procedures, so you’ll be able to go home on the same day.
Are there any risks?
A cystoscopy is usually a safe procedure and complications are rare. Occasionally, there may be:
• Problems passing urine (this should pass within a few days)
Your consultant will explain in more detail how any risks apply to you.