What is a Cystoscopy?

A Cystoscopy is a telescopic examination of the urethra and bladder performed using a special viewing camera. It is a simple investigation performed as a day procedure.

There are many reasons for performing a cystoscopy on a patient. Some of these may include:

  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Incontinence
  • Recurrent urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Haematuria (blood in the urine)
  • Surveillance for bladder tumours


Flexible cystoscopy

A flexible cystoscope is a small version of a cystoscope that may be performed in an awake patient with local anaesthetic gel. The telescope is flexible and may be manoeuvered around corners by the surgeon. It is a diagnostic tool used for looking in the bladder.

Rigid cystoscopy

This is rigid telescope that is only used in anaesthetised patients. The advantage of a rigid cystoscope is that it is wide enough to allow surgical instruments into the bladder to perform procedures such as a bladder biopsy, or removal of a bladder tumour.

What are the side effects?

Most patients should be able to resume normal activities after an Outpatient’s test. You are expected to get some:

  • Burning in the urine
  • Voiding more frequently than usual
  • Mild blood in the urine

This will usually subside after a day or two. If they persist, then you may be experiencing a bladder infection and you should seek medical attention.

The overall complication rate is low, but the possible complications are:

  • Urinary tract infection
    • Associated symptoms are urinary frequency, difficulty holding back the urine, smelly/cloudy urine and occasionally, fevers.
    • Drink lots of water to prevent this.
    • In some circumstances, you may be given a course of antibiotics after the test to prevent an infection.
  • Persistent bleeding
    • Especially in patients who are on blood thinning medications or those who had more complex procedures done.
    • Drink lots of water to treat this.
    • If you are passing large blood clots or heavily blood stained urine and/or cannot pass urine, then you should seek medical attention.
  • Urinary retention (cannot pass urine)
    Can happen to men with an enlarged prostate.