Cystoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed to examine and treat conditions within the bladder that may not show up clearly on an x-ray or other common imaging procedure. With this procedure, doctors can clearly visualize targeted areas within the bladder. Doctors may perform a cystoscopy for a variety of reasons that may include:
- Determining the cause of blood in the urine
- Investigating repeated urinary tract infections
- Evaluating blockages in the urethra
- Removing tissue samples for biopsy
- Removing foreign objects
- Placing a catheter in the ureter
Prior to the cystoscopy procedure, patients are asked to empty their bladder. Local anesthesia is administered before the cystoscope, a thin lighted tube, is inserted through the urethra and into the bladder. Water or saline is then dispensed into the bladder through the cystoscope. As the fluid fills the bladder, the bladder wall is stretched, allowing the doctor to fully view the bladder in detail. Additional instruments may also be inserted to collect tissue samples or remove any abnormalities. The examination usually takes only about ten minutes to perform, although the entire process may last 45 minutes.
Cystoscopy is considered safe for most patients, with no permanent complications. After the procedure, there may be mild swelling in the urethra and burning during urination, however these side effects usually diminish within 48 hours.