What you can expect

By Mayo Clinic Staff

During the cystoscopy

A simple outpatient cystoscopy can take five to 15 minutes. When done in a hospital with sedation or general anesthesia, cystoscopy takes about 15 to 30 minutes.

Your cystoscopy procedure might follow this process:

  • You'll be asked to empty your bladder. Then you'll lie down on a table on your back. You'll likely be positioned with your feet in stirrups and your knees bent.
  • You may or may not need a sedative or anesthetic. If you receive a sedative, you'll feel sleepy and relaxed during the cystoscopy, but you'll still be aware. If you receive a general anesthetic, you won't be aware during the procedure. Both types of medication may be given through a vein in your arm.
  • Your doctor will insert the cystoscope. A numbing jelly will be applied to your urethra to help prevent pain when the cystoscope is inserted. After waiting a few minutes for the numbing, your doctor will carefully push the cystoscope into your urethra, using the smallest scope possible. Larger scopes might be needed to take tissue samples or pass surgical tools into the bladder.
  • Your doctor will examine your urethra and bladder. The cystoscope has a lens on the end that works like a telescope to magnify the inner surfaces of your urethra and bladder. Your doctor might place a special video camera over the lens to project the images onto a video screen.
  • Your bladder will be filled with a sterile solution. The solution inflates the bladder and allows your doctor to get a better look inside. As your bladder fills, you may feel the need to urinate. You'll be encouraged to do so once the procedure is finished.
  • Tissue samples might be taken. Your doctor might take tissue samples for lab testing, or perform various other procedures during the cystoscopy.

After the cystoscopy

You might be allowed to resume your daily routine. If you've had sedation or general anesthesia, you might be asked to remain in a recovery area to allow the effects of the medication to wear off before you leave.

You might experience side effects after cystoscopy, such as:

  • Bleeding from your urethra, which can appear bright pink in your urine or on toilet tissue
  • A burning sensation during urination
  • More frequent urination for the next day or two

You can relieve some of the discomfort if you:

  • Hold a warm, moist washcloth over the opening to your urethra to help relieve pain. Repeat as needed.
  • Take a warm bath. However, your doctor might ask you to avoid baths. Ask your doctor if you have concerns.
  • Drink water. Flushing out your bladder can reduce irritation. Try to drink 16 ounces (473 milliliters) of water each hour for the first two hours after your cystoscopy.

Call your doctor if you have concerns after your cystoscopy.

Sept. 09, 2015