Flexible Cystoscopy

Flexible Cystoscopy

What is a flexible cystoscopy?


This is an examination of the inside of your bladder, using a very fine, soft, telescopic tube (the flexible cystoscope).

Why should you have this examination?


Some urine problems can be sorted out following tests on the urine, blood, or with x-rays.

Often, the only way that the doctor can be sure of what is happening, is to look inside the bladder using a flexible cystoscope.

What preparation do you need?


There is no special preparation.

You can eat and drink as normal and take your normal medications.

What happens during the examination?


This examination takes place in the Day Surgery Unit, please arrive in good time.
  • You will be given a hospital gown.
  • The nurse will ask you to empty your bladder and you may be given a small container for a urine sample at the same time.
  • The doctor will come and explain what happens and ask you to sign a consent form to confirm that you understand the procedure and agree to go ahead with it.
  • Once in the examination room, your nurse and doctor will stay with you throughout. It takes about 10 minutes.
  • The doctor will clean the surrounding areas of skin with a mild disinfectant and cover them with a paper sheet.
  • Then the doctor squeezes some anaesthetic gel gently into the urethra to numb it. It takes about five minutes to work.
  • The flexible cystoscope is then inserted gently into the urethra up into the bladder.Only the soft tip actually goes into your bladder.
  • Men, may be asked to try and pass urine as the cystoscope reaches the sphincter (muscular clamp) in the urethra, below the prostate gland (please see the diagram). This allows it to pass through more easily. Don’t worry, you will not actually pass urine with the cystoscope inside.
  • You may feel some stinging as the cystoscope goes through the sphincter.
  • Once it is in the bladder, water is run in to expand it so that the doctor can see the bladder lining; because of this you will be aware of feeling wet. Also, you will feel like emptying your bladder again at the end of the examination.
  • Rarely, a biopsy (a sample of the bladder lining) may be taken during your examination to be sent to the laboratory for further tests. This is not painful.

After the examination

  • The doctor will discuss the result of the examination with you before you go home. A biopsy result may take up to two - three weeks.
  • A letter will be sent to your GP and you will be given a copy to take to your GP 48 hours later.
  • You can go home as soon as you have passed urine.
  • You can return to your normal activities straight away.
  • You may feel a little burning pain when you pass urine, this will get better after a day or so.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Bleeding is quite common, especially if you have had a biopsy; do not worry, it will stop within 24 hours.

Are there any risks?


There is a small risk of infection following a flexible cystoscopy, which can be treated by your GP. If you get a temperature, pain, bleeding or burning that lasts longer than two days you should contact your GP.

Please speak to your specialist doctor before the procedure if you have any worries about the risks.

Any further questions?


Please phone, the Day Surgery Unit on 020 7288 5097, (Monday – Friday, 8am – 7pm).

Out of hours please phone 020 7288 5443 (Trevor Ward) Monday – Saturday midday.
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