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Cystoscopy

How It Is Done continued...

After the anesthetic takes effect, a well-lubricated cystoscope is inserted into your urethra and slowly moved into your bladder. If your urethra has a spot that is too narrow to allow the scope to pass, other smaller instruments are inserted first to gradually enlarge the opening.

After the cystoscope is inside your bladder, either sterile water or saline is injected through the scope to help expand your bladder and to create a clear view. A medicine may also be injected through the scope to reduce chances of infection. Tiny instruments may be inserted through the scope to collect tissue samples for biopsy; the tissue samples then are sent to the laboratory for analysis.

The cystoscope is usually in your bladder for only 2 to 10 minutes. But the entire test may take up to 45 minutes or longer if other X-ray tests are done at the same time.

If a local anesthetic is used, you may be able to get up immediately after the test. If a general anesthetic is used, you will stay in the recovery room until you are awake and able to walk (usually 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 sensation and movement below your chest returns (usually about an hour).

How It Feels

Most people report that this test is not nearly as uncomfortable as they had expected.

If a general anesthetic is used, you will feel nothing during the test, but after the anesthetic wears off your muscles may feel tired and achy. Some people experience nausea after receiving a general anesthetic.

If a local anesthetic is used, you may feel a burning sensation or an urge to urinate when the instrument is inserted and removed. Also, when your bladder is irrigated with sterile water or saline, you may feel a cool sensation, an uncomfortable fullness, and an urgent need to urinate. Try to relax during the test by taking slow, deep breaths. Also, if the test is lengthy, lying on the table can become tiring and uncomfortable.

If a spinal anesthetic is used, you may find it uncomfortable to lie curled up on your side while the anesthetic is injected. You will probably feel a brief stinging sensation when the anesthetic is injected. You may feel tired and have a slight backache the day after the test.

Risks

Cystoscopy generally is a very safe test. If a general anesthetic is used, there are some risks of general anesthesia. There is no risk of loss of sexual function.

The most common side effect is a temporary swelling of the urethra, which may make it hard to urinate. A catheter inserted in your bladder can help drain the urine until the swelling goes away. Bleeding sometimes occurs, but it usually stops on its own.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 29, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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