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
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.