Ranked among the top urology programs by U.S. News & World Report
Published: Apr. 27, 2011
Updated: Apr. 27, 2011
The purpose of cystoscopy is to directly view the inside of the urethra and bladder. A small camera instrument called a cystoscope is used to perform the procedure.
Download the cystoscopy patient guide (PDF, 106 KB).
After checking in, you will be asked to provide a clean urine sample. It is important to arrive with a full bladder so that you can provide this sample.
You will then be brought to a special procedure room where you will remove your pants and undergarments. You then will be asked to lie on the cystoscopy table and may be asked to place your legs in stirrups.
Your urethra will be cleaned and a lubricating jelly applied. A doctor will then insert a cystoscope camera into your urethra and slowly advance it into your bladder. Your bladder will be filled with sterile water to allow the doctor to view the inside of the bladder. The procedure lasts about five minutes.
You may feel mild discomfort during your cystoscopy. This discomfort can be reduced by relaxing your pelvic muscles and by slow, deep breathing.
You may also feel an urge to urinate as your bladder is filled. You will be able to empty your bladder immediately after the procedure.
There are no activity restrictions after cystoscopy. You can return to your regular activities as soon as you feel able to do so. You may drive home from your cystoscopy.
You may feel a mild burning sensation and notice that your urine is light red or pink when you urinate after the cystoscopy procedure. This is normal and should subside within a few days.
Drinking two or three eight-ounce glasses of water will help flush your bladder and relieve discomfort.
For the first two or three days after cystoscopy, while you are awake, drink at least one glass of fluid every two hours. This will help prevent urinary tract infections and will help reduce the burning that may occur with urination after cystoscopy.
In general, antibiotics are not required for the cystoscopy procedure. Most patients with heart valves do not require antibiotics for cystoscopy.
However, patients with certain pre-existing medical problems may be counseled to receive a single dose of an antibiotic to reduce infection risks.
You should alert the doctor performing the procedure if you have any of the following conditions:
Patients taking blood thinners (such as aspirin, Coumadin, or Plavix) do not need to stop these medications prior to cystoscopy.
Patients taking blood thinners may experience bleeding that lasts somewhat longer than usual, but this normally subsides within a week. Adequate fluid consumption is important for patients taking blood thinners.
Cystoscopy is a very safe medical procedure and is associated with a very low risk of complications. Unfortunately, some patients may experience a complication and require medical attention.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call Duke or go to your nearest emergency room.
If you need medical attention during office hours (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), call the Duke Urology triage nurse at 919-683-2446, option three. After office hours, call 919-684-8111 and ask to speak to the urology resident on call.
If nobody is able to assist you in a timely manner, go to the nearest emergency room for medical care.