Cystoscopy is the examination of the urethra and inside of the bladder (see diagrams below) using a telescope called cystoscope.
The cystoscope is slightly smaller than the diameter of an HB pencil which is passed along the urethra and then into the bladder.
There are two types of cystoscopes:
(1) Flexible
(2) Rigid

A flexible cystoscopy can be utilised for both diagnostic and therapeutic reasons. It can be used to assess blood in the urine, urinary symptoms or to remove a DJ stent which has been left in the ureter after procedure such as stone lithoclasty/laser fragmentation.

A rigid cystoscopy is the same examination as with a flexible scope but the instrument is larger and rigid.
It is usually performed under general or spinal anaesthesia.

How long does the procedure last?
The procedure takes around 5-15 minutes to complete. Once the local anaesthetic gel is inserted (as in the case with flexible cystoscopy, the procedure commences.
Using a camera system attached to the cystoscope, the urethra and bladder are assessed for narrowings, prostate and/or bladder neck enlargement, stones or bladder tumours. If, required, biopsies can be taken utilising small instruments that are passed through a small channel within the scope.

What happens after the procedure?
You may experience minor discomfort or occasional bleeding into the urine (generally this is very minor in which case the urine appears rose colour). This usually settles within 1-3 days. You should increase your fluid intake to two litres per day.

Should you develop a temperature or symptoms of cystitis, this may indicate a urinary tract infection. This requires a course of antibiotics. You would normally be given three days worth of antibiotics as a routine to take home after the procedure. You must complete this course.

Image: Illustration of female pelvic organs

Image: Illustration of male pelvic organs

Image: Illustration of the urinary tract

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