Cystoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that is used to look at the bladder (lower urinary tract) and to collect urine samples.

Performed with an optic instrument known as a cystoscope, this instrument uses a lighted tip for guidance to aid in diagnosing urinary tract disease. This instrument also enables biopsies to be taken or small stones to be removed through a hollow channel in the cystoscope.

Reasons cystoscopy testing is performed

  • To evaluate symptoms that affect the urinary tract. These symptoms include urinary incontinence, urinary frequency or hesitancy, an inability to pass urine or a sudden and overwhelming need to urinate
  • To evaluate problems of the urinary tract, such as frequent, repeated urinary tract infections or urinary tract infections that do not respond to treatment
  • For removal of tissue samples for biopsy
  • To remove foreign bodies
  • For the placement of ureteral catheters to help urine flow from the kidneys to the bladder
  • To treat urinary tract problems

What you can expect

During cystoscopy, a scope or camera is used to look inside the bladder. After the urethral opening is cleaned, the camera is slowly advanced from the urethra into the bladder. The walls of the urethra can viewed as well as the interior of the bladder. Sterile water is used to fill the bladder for visualization of the structures. There is minimal discomfort and if needed, a local anesthesia with lidocaine gel may be used. The entire procedure usually takes about 10 minutes.

This test takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Because cystoscopy can be used to treat some bladder problems, it can eliminate the need for more extensive surgery. The doctor will go over the findings with you after the testing is completed.