A cystoscopy is an inspection of the bladder, which your GP may recommend for diagnostic purposes.
Cystoscopy is usually performed as an outpatient or day case, and in most cases, whilst you are awake although some people are given a sedative to help them relax. In a few cases a cystoscopy may be performed under a general anaesthetic, particularly if a rigid cystoscope is used.
Flexible Cystoscopy Procedure
A cystoscopy usually takes about 5-10 minutes, but may take longer if the doctor performs an additional procedure, such as taking a biopsy from the lining of the bladder, or the removal of stones.
The instrument used is called a cystoscope. It is a thin, fibre-optic tube with a light and camera at one end which relays images to a screen where they can be seen by the urologist. It is inserted into the urethra, which is the tube carrying urine out of the body, and moved up into the bladder. You shouldn’t feel any serious pain as a flexible cystoscopy is usually carried out using a local anaesthetic gel or spray to numb the urethra. The doctor will look carefully at the lining of the urethra and bladder. Sterile water is passed down a side channel in the cystoscope to fill your bladder slowly. This makes it easier for the doctor to see the lining of the bladder. As your bladder fills you will feel the urge to pass urine, which may be uncomfortable.
After Your Bladder Inspection
For the 24 hours post-procedure you may experience a mild burning feeling when you pass urine, and feel the need to urinate more often than usual. Also, the urine may look pink due to mild bleeding, particularly if a biopsy was taken. Occasionally, a urine infection develops shortly after a cystoscopy. This can cause a temperature and pain when you pass urine.