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What is a cystoscopy?

Cystoscopy is a test that allows your doctor to look at the inside of the bladder and the urethra using a thin, lighted instrument called a cystoscope.

The cystoscope is inserted into your vagina and slowly advanced into the bladder.

Cystoscopy allows your doctor to look at areas of your bladder and urethra that usually do not show up well on X-rays. Tiny surgical instruments can be inserted through the cystoscope that allow your doctor to remove samples of tissue or samples of urine from each kidney.

Small bladder stones and some small growths can be removed during cystoscopy. This may eliminate the need for more extensive surgery.

When is it used?

A cystoscopy has a wide variety of uses and benefits. A cystoscopy may be a good option for one or more of the following:

  • Find the cause of symptoms such as blood in the urine (hematuria), painful urination (dysuria), urinary incontinence, urinary frequency or hesitancy, an inability to pass urine (retention), or a sudden and overwhelming need to urinate (urgency).
  • Find the cause of problems of the urinary tract, such as frequent, repeated urinary tract infections or urinary tract infections that do not respond to treatment.
  • Look for problems in the urinary tract, such as blockage in the urethra caused by an enlarged prostate, kidney stones, or tumors.
  • Evaluate problems that cannot be seen on X-ray or to further investigate problems detected by ultrasound or during intravenous pyelography, such as kidney stones or tumors.
  • Remove tissue samples for biopsy.
  • Remove foreign objects.
  • Place ureteral catheters (stents) to help urine flow from the kidneys to the bladder.
  • Treat urinary tract problems. For example, cystoscopy can be done to remove urinary tract stones or growths, treat bleeding in the bladder, relieve blockages in the urethra, or treat or remove tumors.
  • Place a catheter in the ureter for an X-ray test called retrograde pyelography. A dye that shows up on an X-ray picture is injected through the catheter to fill and outline the ureter and the inside of the kidney.
  • To verify another surgical procedure did not cause damage to my bladder or ureters.

What are the risks associated with this procedure?

As with any procedure, there are risks. Be sure to discuss these risks with your physician prior to the procedure. Additionally, there are some risks when you have general anesthesia. Discuss these risks with your health care provider, and please inform your physician about any known allergic reaction as a result of general anesthetic. The regional anesthetic may not numb the area quite enough and you may feel some minor discomfort. Additional risks are:

  • Damage to a vein or artery that could cause serious bleeding.
  • That you may develop infection in your incisions.
  • Damage to the bladder or ureters.

What happens after the procedure?

After the test, you may need to urinate frequently, with some burning during and after urination for a day or two. Drink lots of fluids to help minimize the burning and to prevent a urinary tract infection. A pinkish tinge to the urine is also common for several days after cystoscopy, particularly if a biopsy was performed.

When should I call Greenville OB/GYN?

Call our emergency number at any time if:

  • You have a fever over 100 F (37.8 C).
  • Your urine remains red or you see blood clots after you have urinated several times.
  • You have not been able to urinate 8 hours after the test.
  • You have symptoms of a urinary tract infection.

Call during regular office hours if:

  • You have questions about the procedure or its result.
  • You want to make another appointment.

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