Published: Jan. 23, 2009
Updated: Aug. 22, 2011
Please read the following instructions and information ahead of time so you can be adequately prepared for the procedure.
If you have a language barrier or a communication issue, call 919-684-6437.
What is a cystoscopy?
A cystoscopy or "cysto" is a procedure to see the inside of the bladder and urethra (the tube that caries urine from the bladder out of the body). An instrument called a cystoscope is used. A cystoscope is a thin, flexible tube with a light and lens for viewing. This allows the doctor to closely look at the urethra and bladder.
What should my health care professional know before I have this test/procedure done?
You may need special preparation before your cystoscopy if you have any of the following:
You may also need special preparation if you have been told for any reason that you should receive antibiotics before dental procedures.
Continue to take your prescribed medications as usual.
Where is the procedure/test done?
The procedure is performed at different locations at Duke. When your procedure is scheduled, you will be given an appointment confirmation that will list the location. Please bring this with you to your appointment.
Do I need to have someone drive me home afterward?
Yes. You will need to arrive with an escort to drive you home after the procedure. You may not go home alone in a taxi, shuttle van, or bus, as these drivers will not be responsible for you. If you receive sedation, you may not drive until the next day.
What happens during the procedure?
Your physician will discuss the procedure with you, review your medical information with you, explain why the procedure is necessary, and answer any questions you may have. Your nurse will be with you throughout the procedure and can also answer your questions The procedure usually takes less than 30 minutes.
You will be asked for a urine sample and to change into a gown. Your genital area will be washed with a special soap and you will be draped with sterile sheets. A local anesthetic (gel) will be placed in your urethra to help decrease discomfort.
During a cystoscopy, the bladder is partly filled with water through the cystoscope. This makes the flexible walls of the bladder expand so they can be thoroughly examined. You may feel the need to urinate when the bladder is full or experience some mild discomfort during the procedure. It is important that the bladder remain full until the examination is complete.
What are the benefits of the procedure?
Your doctor will be able to determine if there are any abnormalities of the urethra or bladder. This information will help guide your care.
What are the risks associated with this procedure?
There is a risk of bleeding, infection, or puncturing of the bladder.
What happens after the procedure?
When should I call the doctor?
You should call the doctor immediately if:
How will I get the results of this test/procedure?
Your doctor will discuss the results with you after the procedure.
This guide is intended as a resource for patients receiving their cancer care at Duke University Hospital or Duke Clinic. It is not intended to substitute for medical advice from your health care team. If your physician’s instructions differ from the information in this article, please talk with your physician before making any changes.