What You Need to Know About Cystoscopy
Doctors will use a cystoscope for this procedure. A cystoscope is as thin as a pencil, has a light at the tip, and has lenses like a telescope or microscope. This instrument can:
- Allow doctors to focus on the inner surfaces of the urinary tract
- Use optical fibers (flexible glass fibers) to carry an image from the tip of the instrument to a viewing piece on the other end
- Treat urinary problems through the extra tubes, which can be used to guide other instruments for procedures.
All medical procedures have a small risk of injury. You will need to sign a consent form prior to the cystoscopy. You may also be asked to give a urine sample that will be checked for an infection. Therefore, you should avoid urinating for one hour before this part of the procedure.
Throughout the cystoscopy, you will wear a hospital gown and a sterile drape that will cover the lower part of your body. In most cases, you will lie on your back with your knees raised and apart. A nurse or technician will clean the area around the urethral opening and apply a local anesthetic.
During the Cystoscopy
A cystoscopy does not require any cuts or incisions. The procedure entails the following steps:
- The doctor will gently insert the tip of the cystoscope into the urethra and slowly glide it up into the bladder. Relaxing your pelvic muscles will help make this part of the cystoscopy easier.
- A sterile liquid (water or saline) will flow through the cystoscope to slowly fill your bladder and stretch it so that the doctor has a better view of the bladder wall.
- As your bladder reaches capacity, you will feel some discomfort and the urge to urinate. You will be able to empty your bladder as soon as the cystoscopy is over.
- To end the cystoscopy, the doctor may find and remove a kidney stone or take a biopsy (a small tissue sample for examination under a microscope).
In most cases, the entire cystoscopy, including preparation, will take about 15 to 20 minutes.