Flexible cystoscopy is an inspection of the water pipe (urethra) with a thin, bendy telescopic camera called a cystoscope. Small surgical instruments can also be passed down the cystoscope to treat bladder problems at the same time.
It can be carried out for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Therapeutic reasons include the laser ablation of a tiny bladder legion, inserting or removing a stent, or the injection of paralysing toxins. Diagnostic reasons are to inspect the water pipe, the prostate pipe and bladder itself for any pockets in the bladder or bladder tumours, stones, or other lesions. Both men and women can have a flexible cystoscopy.
A urologist may perform a flexible cystoscopy when patients report blood in their urine, have unexplained water infections, a poor flow of urine or there is a suspicion of a narrowing of the water pipe. They may also use it for monitoring purposes of previously treated bladder tumour.
The consultant will talk to you in the clinic about the procedure. It's a day job – the procedure lasts for 5 minutes and total attendance required is one and a half to two hours maximum.
The consultant goes through the benefits of the procedure and the risks of infection and bleeding. You stay awake throughout the procedure. Beforehand, a local anaesthetic gel is used to numb the water pipe, reducing any discomfort when the cystoscope is inserted.
A flexible cystoscopy can be a little uncomfortable, but usually it isn’t painful.
The majority of patients experience no problems. A few may have mild discomfort and possible bleeding, which normally quickly settles down after drinking plenty of fluids.
Normally patients recover 3 to 4 hours after having a flexible cystoscopy.
There are virtually no risks.