How It Is Done
Cystoscopy is done by a
urologist, with one or more assistants. The test is
done in a hospital or the doctor's office.
You'll need to take off all or most of your clothes. You'll have a cloth or paper covering to use during the test.
hour before the test, you may get a
sedative to help you relax. An intravenous (IV) needle may be placed in your arm to give
you other medicines and fluids. You will lie on your back on a table
with your knees bent, legs apart. Your feet or thighs may be placed in stirrups. Your genital area is cleaned with an antiseptic solution. Your
belly and thighs are covered with sterile cloths.
For this test, you will have one of three kinds of anesthesia.
Local anesthetic. This anesthetic is inserted in your urethra.
General anesthetic. You are put to sleep
either with medicine through an IV or with gases inhaled through a mask. Sometimes both methods are used.
Spinal anesthetic. The doctor or nurse first numbs the area on your back where
the needle will be inserted. Then the
needle is guided into the spinal canal and the anesthetic is injected. You may not be able to move your legs until the medicine wears off.
After the anesthetic takes effect, the cystoscope
tube is inserted into your urethra and slowly moved into your bladder. If your
urethra has a spot that is too narrow, other smaller
tools are inserted first. They will gradually make it large enough for the tube.
Next, the doctor injects either sterile water or
salt water (saline) to help make your bladder larger and to create
a clear view. The doctor may also inject medicine to reduce
chances of infection.
The doctor can also insert tiny tools through the tube to
collect tissue samples for biopsy. The tissue samples are sent to the
lab to be checked.
The tube is usually in your bladder
for only 2 to 10 minutes. But if other X-ray tests are done at the same time, the entire test may take up to 45 minutes or
If a local
anesthetic is used, you may be able to get up right after the test. If a
general anesthetic is used, you will stay in the recovery room until you are
awake and able to walk. (This usually takes an hour or less.) You can eat and drink as soon
as you are fully awake and can swallow without choking. If a spinal anesthetic
was used, you will stay in the recovery room until feeling and movement below
your chest returns. (This usually takes about an hour.)