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

 What happens?

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)
• Bleeding
• Infection

Your consultant will explain in more detail how any risks apply to you.