Bladder investigation (cystoscopy)

A cystoscope is a small tube with a camera fitted at one end which is used to give doctors a way of observing the urinary tract and bladder without the need for more invasive surgery. Two forms of cystoscope exist. One is a slightly larger, more rigid construction and the other is a tube smaller in diameter which allows some extra flexibility. This flexible cystoscope is used for purely investigative procedures.

A cystoscopy bladder investigation is the medical name used to describe the procedure when using this surgical instrument.

This procedure may be recommended to investigate any of the following symptoms or conditions more thoroughly in order to plan the most effective treatment:

  • Blood in the urine (hematuria)
  • Frequent urinary tract infections
  • Loss of bladder control (incontinence) or overactive bladder
  • Unusual cells found in urine sample
  • Painful urination, chronic pelvic pain, or interstitial cystitis
  • Urinary blockage such as from prostate enlargement, stricture, or narrowing of the urinary tract
  • Need for a bladder catheter
  • Stone in the urinary tract
  • Unusual growth, polyp, tumor, or cancer

A cystoscopy is a procedure performed under general or local anaesthetic depending on the individual circumstances. If a general anaesthetic is planned then patients are additionally screened for any medical problems at a pre-operative assessment clinic by Circle Health's expert anaesthetists.

Prior to the cystoscopy patients are required to empty their bladder. The procedure is performed with the patient lying on their back. A numbing gel or spray will be administered to the urethra and the cystoscope will be lubricated and carefully inserted to the urethra. During a cystoscopy a fluid is passed through the urethra to aid visualization. Once your specialist is content that the problem has been identified or the anatomy of the urethra and bladder are normal they will end the procedure.

Following this procedure, your specialist and our nursing staff will ensure there are no complications and you will be allowed home later the same day.

A cystoscopy is a very safe procedure but there are some very rare side effects that are possible. These may include the following:

  • General anaesthetic risks (commonly nausea and fatigue)
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Bladder infection
  • Being unable to urinate following the procedure (this may require catheterisation for a number of hours after the procedure)

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Circle Health Group, 1st Floor, 30 Cannon Street, London, EC4M 6XH