This is a diagnostic examination carried out with the assistance of a type of endoscope, called a cystoscope.
This is a slender instrument which is inserted through the urethra into the bladder enabling visual examination of its interior.
Two types of cystoscope are used, rigid and flexible.
- The rigid cystoscope is a metallic instrument which can easily pass the strictures and curvature of the male urethra.
- The flexible cystoscope is used for the same purposes as the rigid, but it is better tolerated, by men in particular.
Cystoscopy is used mainly for diagnostic purposes which include:
- Investigating lower urinary tract symptoms such as blood in the urine, urinary incontinence, pain during urination and urinary retention
- Investigating urinary tract infections which fail to respond to treatment
- Surveillance of patients with a history of bladder neoplasms and transurethral resection of a tumor in order to ensure prompt diagnosis of any recurrence
Prior to the cystoscopy the urologist should be informed of any of the following conditions:
- Allergies to medication such as antibiotics or anesthetics
- Diseases giving rise to a bleeding tendency
- Any medication which affects blood clotting such as Salospir, Plavix, Iscover, Sintrom, Pradaxa
- Urinary tract conditions or anomalies
How the cystoscopy is performed
The cystoscopy is performed by a urologist usually under local anesthesia. In special cases epidural or general anesthesia may be required.
First, the patient is placed in a supine position, the external genitalia are thoroughly cleansed with a special antiseptic, and an anesthetic gel is applied to the urethra.
The cystoscope is inserted through the urethra into the bladder, which it then fills with saline in order to stretch the bladder walls so as to facilitate visual examination.
Following the examination, the patient may experience mild discomfort during urination which usually goes away in 24 hours.
After the completion of the cystoscopy, the results are provided in writing, together with instructions for further treatment should this be required.