Have had bleeding problems or take blood-thinning medicine, such
as aspirin or warfarin (Coumadin).
Are or might be pregnant.
The anesthesia used for this test may be local, spinal, or general. So talk to your doctor about which method is best for you. Ask if you should plan on staying
overnight in the hospital. If you won't be staying in the hospital, plan to have someone drive you home after the test.
Follow the instructions exactly
about when to stop eating and drinking, or your surgery may be canceled. If
your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of surgery,
use only a sip of water.
Empty your bladder just before the test. You
may get medicine to prevent a urinary tract infection that could be caused
by the test.
You will be asked to sign a consent form that says you understand the risks of the test and agree to have it done.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the
test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results may mean. To help you
understand the importance of this test, fill out the
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
Cystoscopy is done by a
urologist, with one or more assistants. The test is
done in a hospital or the doctor's office.
You'll need to take off all or most of your clothes. You'll have a cloth or paper covering to use during the test.
hour before the test, you may get a
sedative to help you relax. An intravenous (IV) needle may be placed in your arm to give
you other medicines and fluids. You will lie on your back on a table
with your knees bent, legs apart. Your feet or thighs may be placed in stirrups. Your genital area is cleaned with an antiseptic solution. Your
belly and thighs are covered with sterile cloths.
For this test, you will have one of three kinds of anesthesia.
General anesthetic. You are put to sleep
either with medicine through an IV or with gases inhaled through a mask. Sometimes both methods are used.
Spinal anesthetic. The doctor or nurse first numbs the area on your back where
the needle will be inserted. Then the
needle is guided into the spinal canal and the anesthetic is injected. You may not be able to move your legs until the medicine wears off.
After the anesthetic takes effect, the cystoscope
tube is inserted into your urethra and slowly moved into your bladder. If your
urethra has a spot that is too narrow, other smaller
tools are inserted first. They will gradually make it large enough for the tube.
Next, the doctor injects either sterile water or
salt water (saline) to help make your bladder larger and to create
a clear view. The doctor may also inject medicine to reduce
chances of infection.
The doctor can also insert tiny tools through the tube to
collect tissue samples for biopsy. The tissue samples are sent to the
lab to be checked.
The tube is usually in your bladder
for only 2 to 10 minutes. But if other X-ray tests are done at the same time, the entire test may take up to 45 minutes or
If a local
anesthetic is used, you may be able to get up right after the test. If a
general anesthetic is used, you will stay in the recovery room until you are
awake and able to walk. (This usually takes an hour or less.) You can eat and drink as soon
as you are fully awake and can swallow without choking. If a spinal anesthetic
was used, you will stay in the recovery room until feeling and movement below
your chest returns. (This usually takes about an hour.)
How It Feels
If you are put to sleep with a general
anesthetic, you won't feel anything during the test. After the
anesthetic wears off, your muscles may feel tired and achy. The medicine gives some people an upset stomach.
If a local
anesthetic is used, you may feel a burning sensation or an urge to urinate when
the cystoscope tube is inserted and removed. When sterile water or saline is put in your bladder, you may feel a cool sensation, an uncomfortable
fullness, and an urgent need to urinate. Try to relax during the test by taking
slow, deep breaths. Also, if the test takes a long time, lying on the table can become
tiring and uncomfortable.
If a spinal anesthetic is used, you may
find it uncomfortable to lie curled up on your side while the anesthetic is
injected. You will probably feel a brief sting when the medicine
is injected. The day after the test, you may feel tired and have a slight backache.
Most people report that this test is not
nearly as uncomfortable as they thought it would be.
Cystoscopy is generally a very safe test. General anesthesia has some
risks. The test doesn't affect sexual function.
The most common side effect is a short-term
swelling of the urethra. This can make it hard to urinate. A catheter
inserted in your bladder can help drain the urine until the swelling goes away.
Bleeding sometimes occurs, but it usually stops on its own.
may have a mild infection in the urinary tract after the test. This can
usually be prevented or treated by taking medicine before and after the test.
In rare cases, the infection can spread through the body. And in very rare
cases, usually with seriously ill people, the infection can be
Another rare complication is a puncture of the
urethra or bladder by one of the tools. This puncture needs surgery to
After the test
After the test, you may need to
urinate often. You may have some burning during and after urination for a day or
two. It may help to drink lots of fluids. This also helps prevent a urinary
Slightly pink urine is common for
several days after the test, especially if a biopsy was performed. But call
your doctor right away if:
Your urine stays red or you see blood clots after you have
urinated several times.
You have not been able to urinate 8 hours after the
You have a fever, chills, or severe pain in your flank or
belly. These may be signs of a
You have symptoms of a
urinary tract infection. These symptoms include:
Pain or burning when you urinate.
An urge to urinate often, but usually passing only small
amounts of urine.
Dribbling or leaking urine.
Urine that is reddish or pinkish, smells bad, or
Pain or a heavy feeling in the lower belly.
Cystoscopy is a test that allows the
doctor to look at the inside of the
bladder and the
urethra. Your doctor may be able to talk to you about
some of the results right after the test. The results of a
biopsy usually take several days.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.