All you need to know about Cystoscopy

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What is Cystoscopy?

When a doctor says that you need a cystoscopy, this refers to looking into your urinary bladder using a cystoscope, which is a thin flexible fiber optic tube that has a lens at one end. Cystoscopy is done through the urethra, which carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. Basically, the scope is inserted into your urethra, and slowly advanced into the bladder, enabling the doctor to see inner areas of the urinary tract.


Why is Cystoscopy Done?

There are several reasons why your doctor will recommend having a cystoscopy examination. It can be used to find the cause of several urinary tract problems such as blood in urine, painful urination, loss of control of urination (incontinence), or frequent infections or blockages of the urinary tract. Cystoscopy can also be used to remove tissue samples for testing, or to remove a foreign object that is lodged in the tract. It can be used to diagnose bladder diseases and conditions such as bladder cancer, bladder stones and bladder inflammation, and can be used to even insert a stent, which helps urine flow from the kidneys to the bladder better.


How is Cystoscopy Performed?

Cystoscopy is conducted using a sedative or general anesthesia. You will be asked to empty your bladder and will then have to lie down on a table on your back. A numbing gel will be applied to the urethra to prevent pain when the cystoscope is inserted, after which the doctor will insert the scope into the urethra. Since the cystoscope has a lens on the end, the inner surfaces of the urethra and bladder will be magnified and the doctor will be able to view this. The bladder will then be filled with a sterile solution which stretches the bladder and allows the doctor to get a better look inside. If any abnormal tissue is observed, the doctor will take a small tissue sample for laboratory testing.


What are the Results of a Cystoscopy?

Your doctor might be able to tell you about the results immediately after examining you. In healthy patients, the bladder wall should be smooth, and the bladder should be of a normal size, shape and position with no blockages. If the cystoscopy involved collecting a biopsy, and further lab tests, then the doctor will need to wait to discuss the results at a follow up appointment.


Western Hospital provides various imaging diagnostic tests such as cystoscopy to help diagnose urinary tract problems.