Flexible Cystoscopy

An appointment may have been arranged for you to attend the day unit for an examination of your bladder and urethra (bladder outlet pipe).

This will have been described as flexible cystoscopy at your last appointment. There is nothing dangerous or painful about the examination.

The following information is intended to ease any of your worries.

Why carry out the investigation?Show [+]Hide [-]

Flexible cystoscopy is an examination carried out to look closely at the lining of the bladder and the urethra. Some urinary symptoms are due to problems in the bladder or urethra.

The information provided by the examination will help plan the most appropriate treatment for your symptoms. The investigation will be carried out by one of the Consultants or Specialist Registrars.

PreparationShow [+]Hide [-]

You can eat and drink as normal before the procedure. You may wish to bring someone with you for company whilst you are waiting for the procedure.

When you arrive on the day unit, nursing staff will check your details and complete a checklist. You will usually be asked to change into a gown and empty your bladder before the procedure.

How is the examination carried out?Show [+]Hide [-]

A flexible cystoscope is a catheter with a specially adapted camera, which bends to fit the shape of the urethra and closely view the lining of the bladder. You do not require general anaesthetic for flexible cystoscopy although the procedure is carried out in an operating theatre.

Flexible cystoscopyShow [+]Hide [-]

The investigation itself does not take long – approximately 15 minutes.

When you are lying comfortably on the couch, local anaesthetic gel is squeezed into the urethra (bladder outlet pipe) from a syringe. The gel is left to take effect for several minutes before the flexible cystoscope is passed into the urethra to the bladder.

Once the tip of the cystoscope is inside the bladder sterile water is run into the bladder through a channel in the cystoscope. This makes it easier to see the lining of the bladder. Once the bladder and urethra have been thoroughly examined the cystoscope is removed and the examination completed. It is likely you will have the feeling that you want to pass urine at the end of the investigation.

A nurse will stay with you throughout the investigation and explanations will be given at every stage of the examination.

You do not need to remain in the department after the procedure and it is safe to drive home afterwards.

RisksShow [+]Hide [-]

Your urine will be tested before the cystoscopy to check for signs of infection. If the result suggests infection a specimen of urine will be sent for closer analysis and you will be provided with a prescription for antibiotics to begin immediately following the examination.

Following the tests you may experience:

  • you may feel discomfort when passing urine on the first few occasions after completing the examination
  • you may find you pass urine more frequently than usual.
  • you may also notice some blood in your urine

Although every precaution is taken to prevent infection there is a risk (4-10%) of introducing infection at the time of the examination Ensure you drink plenty of fluids during the first 24hours and this should settle quickly. If after 24hours you still have some discomfort, are passing urine more frequently, or have a temperature and your urine is offensive you should take a sample of urine to your GP to ensure there is no infection.

ResultsShow [+]Hide [-]

The results will be explained to you at the time and any suggestions for treatment or further investigation will also be discussed. A letter detailing your results is then sent to your GP or Consultant (whoever referred you for the tests).

More informationShow [+]Hide [-]

If you feel you need further advice you can contact:

  • Liz Dixon Nurse Consultant Urogynaecology, tel: 0191 282 5670, voicemail available, or tel: 0191 2829919, Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm


You can also download the information on this page as a .PDF

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