Cystoscopy is a surgical procedure. This is done to see the inside of the bladder and urethra using a thin, lighted tube.
How the Test is Performed
Cystoscopy is done with a cystoscope. This is a special tube with a small camera on the end (endoscope). There are two types of cystoscopes:
- Standard, rigid cystoscope
- Flexible cystoscope
The tube can be inserted in different ways. However, the test is the same. The type of cystoscope your health care provider will use depends on the purpose of the exam.
The procedure will take about 5 to 20 minutes. The urethra is cleansed. A numbing medicine is applied to the skin lining the inside of the urethra. This is done without needles. The scope is then inserted through the urethra into the bladder.
Water or salt water (saline) flows through the tube to fill the bladder. As this occurs, you may be asked to describe the feeling. Your answer will give some information about your condition.
As fluid fills the bladder, it stretches the bladder wall. This lets your provider see the entire bladder wall. You will feel the need to urinate when the bladder is full. However, the bladder must stay full until the exam is finished.
If any tissue looks abnormal, a small sample can be taken (biopsy) through the tube. This sample will be sent to a lab to be tested.