What is a Cystoscopy?

A Cystoscopy is a direct visual examination of the urethra and lining of the bladder using an instrument similar to a microscope. This takes only a few minutes and can usually be performed in our offices under local anesthesia.  It is commonly recommended to evaluate urinary tract problems that cannot be identified through simpler testing such as urine analysis.  More than just a test, the cystoscopy can be used to treat small bladder stones, tumors, bleeding and infection, eliminating the need for more invasive surgery.

Left, bladder image using white light cystoscopy alone. Same image on the right after using Blue Light Cystoscopy with Cysview as an adjunct to white light. The blue light causes compounds within the tumors to fluoresce a pink color, providing specific and accurate visualization of tumors.

A Cystoscopy Can Rule Out the Following Conditions

  • Inflammation of the Urinary Tract
  • Abnormal tissue or cells
  • Bleeding
  • Strictures (narrowed areas)
  • Structural abnormalities
  • Ulcers
  • Stones
  • Enlarged prostate gland in men
  • Genital prolapse in women

Is a Cystoscopy Covered by Insurance?

Certain insurance plans may require pre-authorization before having this exam. If you are not sure, please contact your insurance company and/or primary physician beforehand.

Getting a Cystoscopy

Prior to a Cystoscopy please review the list below:

  1. If you are allergic to any medications, have a history of frequent urine infections, or need to take antibiotics before having dental work, please notify your doctor or nurse.  In some cases, additional antibiotics may be required before cystoscopy.
  2. This procedure cannot be performed safely if you have a urinary tract infection. The urologist may order a urinalysis and urine culture if they have not been performed recently. These tests must done before your appointment. PLEASE NOTE: If your urologist has ordered urine tests before cystoscopy, we must have the complete results before performing the cystoscopy. If the tests indicate that you have an infection, your urologist will notify you and prescribe antibiotics. The appointment for cystoscopy may also need to be changed if this is the case.
  3. If you take aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs (such as Motrin, Alleve, Vioxx, Celebrex etc.), or any blood thinners (such as Coumadin or Plavix). You may need to temporarily stop these medications prior to cystoscopy.  If you are not sure, review your medications with your doctor or nurse.  If another doctor prescribed these medications, you must contact them before you stop taking them. If they cannot be safely interrupted, please contact our office before coming in.

cystoscopyWhat does the procedure involve?

The cystoscope is a very narrow instrument with lenses, much like a telescope or microscope. The procedure is usually performed while the patient is under local or general anesthesia. Once the patient is placed in the stirrup position, a cystoscope is lubricated and inserted through the urethra, and sterile liquid (water or saline) is used to fill the bladder for optimal examination. It is not usually painful, but there is often some mild discomfort during the procedure. Once the cystoscope is inserted into the bladder, an extension can be used to visualize the ureters (the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder). Depending on what needs to be accomplished, the entire procedure may last a few minutes to possibly 20 minutes.

After the Cystoscopy

Are there any complications?

The patient may experience mild burning during urination and/or small amounts of blood in their urine. This is considered normal within the first 24 hours. Patients are encouraged to drink extra fluids to relieve those symptoms and help prevent urinary tract infections. However, if symptoms persist or if there is severe bleeding and/or pain, the physician should be contacted. Antibiotics may be prescribed for one or two days prophylactically, immediately following a cystoscopy. If other signs of infection, such as pain, chills, or fever develop, the physician should be contacted immediately.

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