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Cystoscopy

Cystoscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to examine the lining of your bladder and the tube that carries urine out of your body (urethra). A hollow tube (cystoscope) equipped with a lens is inserted into your urethra and slowly advanced into your bladder.

Cystoscopy may be done in a testing room, using a local anesthetic jelly to numb your urethra. Or it may be done as an outpatient procedure, with sedation. Another option is to have cystoscopy in the hospital during general anesthesia.

The type of cystoscopy you’ll have depends on the reason for your procedure.

Why it’s done

Cystoscopy is used to diagnose, monitor and treat conditions affecting the bladder and urethra. Your doctor might recommend cystoscopy to:

  • Investigate causes of signs and symptoms. Those signs and symptoms can include blood in the urine, incontinence, overactive bladder and painful urination. Cystoscopy can also help determine the cause of frequent urinary tract infections. However, cystoscopy generally isn’t done while you have an active urinary tract infection.
  • Diagnose bladder diseases and conditions. Examples include bladder cancer, bladder stones and bladder inflammation (cystitis).
  • Treat bladder diseases and conditions. Special tools can be passed through the cystoscope to treat certain conditions. For example, very small bladder tumors might be removed during cystoscopy.
  • Diagnose an enlarged prostate. Cystoscopy can reveal a narrowing of the urethra where it passes through the prostate gland, indicating an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia).

Your doctor might conduct a second procedure called ureteroscopy at the same time as your cystoscopy. Ureteroscopy uses a smaller scope to examine the tubes that carry urine from your kidneys to your bladder (ureters).