Bladder Cancer - What is a Cystoscopy?

A cystoscopy is a minimally-invasive procedure utilized to diagnose bladder cancer and pinpoint urinary issues.

This video offers insights into the procedure itself, its diagnostic benefits for bladder problems, and the associated risks.

Read the full video transcript below:

This video is an overview of a procedure called cystoscopy.

A cystoscopy is required in the standard workup for patients with bladder cancer. A cystoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that allows your doctor to see inside your bladder. It involves a cystoscope which is a thin, flexible tube with a camera at the end. The camera sends images to a monitor which your doctor looks at to look for signs of disease on the inside lining of the bladder.

Cystoscopy can be performed for a variety of reasons. 

It can help diagnose the cause of urinary problems, like blood in the urine, frequent urination, or urinary tract infections. Additionally, if you've had bladder issues in the past, or you're at risk for developing bladder cancer, a cystoscopy can be a valuable tool for early detection and intervention with treatment.

Before the procedure, your doctor will provide instructions on how to prepare. You may be asked to empty your bladder before the cystoscopy begins. During the procedure you'll lie on an examination table and your doctor will gently insert the lubricated cystoscope into your urethra, the tube that carries the urine from the bladder to the outside of your body. 

I know this sounds extremely uncomfortable but the scope is very small in size, and your doctor will use a local anesthetic or numbing agent to minimize the discomfort. It's normal to feel some pressure and a slight urge to urinate during the procedure but it only lasts a few minutes. 

Once the cystoscopy is complete the scope is carefully removed you're allowed to go home shortly after the procedure. It's normal to experience some mild discomfort or burning sensation when you urinate for a day or two after the procedure. Drinking plenty of water can help with these symptoms.

Typically a cystoscopy does not require any hospitalization. 

While cystoscopy is generally safe like any medical procedure it has some risks. Risks may include infection bleeding or rarely an injury to the bladder.

This is not medical advice. Talk to your doctor before making any medical decisions.