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  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
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A cystoscopy is a procedure to examine the bladder with a scope with a camera to view through the urethra and into the bladder. The urethra is a tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.

Cystoscopy of the Bladder

nucleus image scopeNULL\\filer01a\Intellect\images\DV00021_ma.jpgNULL16NULL2004-04-29290390Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Reasons for Procedure

Cystoscopy may be done to look for causes of:

It may also help to diagnose:

  • Tumors
  • Bladder stones
  • Inflammation
  • Cysts
  • Pouches on the bladder wall
  • Ulcers on the bladder wall
  • Polyps
  • Narrowing of the urethra
  • Enlargement of the prostate gland in men

Possible Complications

Problems from the test are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Damage to the bladder wall with the cystoscope—rare

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

  • Smoking
  • An active infection
  • Chronic health problems, such as diabetes
  • Bleeding disorders

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

The care team might meet with you to talk about:

  • Anesthesia options
  • Any allergies you have
  • Current medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements that you take and if you need to stop taking them before the test


The doctor may give:

  • A sedative—you will feel relaxed
  • Local anesthesia—the area will be numbed

Description of the Procedure

You will lie on an exam table. A scope will be passed into the urethra and then to the bladder. It will drain urine out of the bladder. A sample will be kept for testing. Next, the bladder will be filled with sterile water or saline solution. This will allow a better view of the bladder walls. The bladder and urethra will be examined. The scope will be removed.

How Long Will It Take?

Up to 15 minutes

How Much Will It Hurt?

Anesthesia will prevent pain during the procedure. You may feel some discomfort when the bladder is filled during the exam. It can also create an urge to urinate.

Post-procedure Care

At the Care Center

You will be able to go home after the test. There may be some burning or small amounts of blood in the urine after the test. This will go away as you pass more urine.

At Home

The doctor will share the results with you. It will help to guide care.

Problems to Look Out For

Call the doctor if you have:

  • Frequency, urgency, or pain when passing urine
  • Problems passing urine or fully emptying the bladder
  • Blood in your urine or burning after 24 hours
  • Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
  • Pain in your belly, back, or side

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.





  • Cystoscopy. Urology Care Foundation website. Available at:
  • Cytoscopy and ureteroscopy. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at:
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.