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Cystoscopy - Flexible Cystoscopy. - Visual Bladder Examination.

Updated on May 2, 2015
bladder view
bladder view

Flexible Cystoscopy. (A visual examination of the inside of your bladder).

Having any medical procedure can cause anxiety, and for anyone who has never had a cystoscopy, this anxiety could be heightened due to fear of the unknown. Hopefully this Hub will explain the procedure and possible ease some of this anxiety.

Why do you need a cystoscopy?

The procedure may be necessary to investigate problems in the bladder and urethra following symptoms such as:

Blood in ones urine (known as haematurea)

Pain or burning when passing urine (dysuria)

Urinary incontinence

Frequent need to urinate

Not being able to urinate fully

Pelvic pains

A cystoscope, which is basically a camera on a flexible/controllable tube (about 7mm in diameter), can detect certain problems that cannot be detected by X-ray or by Ultrasound scans. Modern cystoscopes can also incorporate tools to carry out certain operations without the need for surgical cutting.

What can a cystoscopy detect? :

Urinary tract infections

Enlarged prostrate gland

Cancerous growths

Polyps (non cancerous growths)

Bladder stones

Blockages or narrowing of the urethra

Prior to your cystoscopy there are no special preparation requirements, you should eat and drink as normal, possibly drinking more water than normal. Any medication that you take can also be taken as normal though you will be asked about this during the waiting procedure.

On arrival at the hospital on your appointment day, you will book in at the main reception desk and be sent to the first waiting room where you will wait to be called to the ward. You will then be collected by a nurse and taken through to a ward bed, where you will be quizzed to assure that you are who you say you are. You will be questioned on your general health and have you blood pressure, pulse rate and temperature checked. All being well, you will get your wrist tag fitted, and be presented with two gowns, one to be fitted from the front and tied at the back, one to be fitted from the back and tied at the front. Sometimes at this point you are given a dose of antibiotics (in tablet form).

When your time comes, you will be collected by your nurse and taken through to the theatre via the toilet where you will need to empty your bladder. Awaiting your arrival at the theatre will be the doctor/surgeon who will carry out the examination along with two or three nurses/auxiliary staff, again at this point, you are questioned to ensure that you are who you say you are.

The doctor will clean your genitals with a mild antiseptic solution, which feels rather cold, he will then cover the area with a sterile paper sheet. Through a syringe, lubricating gel will then be squeezed into your urethra, this gel also has a mild anaesthetic effect, and it may sting slightly as it is passing through.

A nurse will present the doctor with the cystoscope, and it will be inserted into your urethra, this will sting a little. You can watch the television screen and see exactly what the doctor is seeing throughout the procedure.

A woman’s urethra is only about 3 to 4cm long, where a man’s is much longer and follows an “S” shape. Both men and women have a muscular valve called a sphincter, which controls the flow of urine. A woman’s sphincter lies around most of her short urethra while a man’s main sphincter lies just below his prostrate gland. Stinging will occur as the camera passes the prostrate.

Eventually the camera will enter the bladder, which, as it is empty will be creased and wrinkled, the cystoscope will pump sterile water into the bladder to stretch out these wrinkles and give a clearer picture. The flexibility of the cystoscope will allow the doctor to fully examine all around your bladder; it can actually turn around 180’ and look back at itself entering the bladder.

Throughout the procedure, the doctor will explain everything as and when it happens and you can expect to be told the result right away, (a cystoscope can also take tissue from your bladder to be taken for biopsy, obviously results from such will only be available after the biopsy).

When the cystoscope has been removed, the doctor or a nurse will wipe you down and the procedure is complete. Before leaving the theatre the doctor will have a personal discussion with you.

You will now have a strong need to urinate due to all the water pumped into your bladder; you can do this right away.

After a cystoscopy there is a slight risk that some people may develop a urine infection, drinking plenty water reduces this risk.

During the day, after your cystoscopy, you may notice slight showings of blood in your urine, and you may encounter stinging, this is normal and is nothing to be concerned about. You will be given an emergency/advise telephone number to contact should you encounter high temperature, pain, persistent burning or bleeding, or any other concern.

A cystoscopy is a simple examination that many of you may have already had, some may be due to have one, and many may never encounter the experience. Does the procedure sound appealing? Would you fear the procedure? Have you had problems with such an examination?

Please comment with any experience that you may have had, and feel free to ask further questions on the procedure.


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