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Flexible Cystoscopy

What is Flexible Cystoscopy?

A flexible cystoscopy is an examination of the bladder using a flexible fibre-optic telescope. This enables the doctor to examine the urethra and bladder without a general anaesthetic.

This examination is useful for finding out what is causing symptoms such as blood in the urine or difficulties with urination, and a check-up for certain bladder conditions. It is a simple, quick and generally painless procedure although some patients may feel brief discomfort. It allows visualization of areas that tend not to show up on x-rays or ultrasounds. Biopsies (small tissue samples) or other minor procedures may be undertaken at the time of cystoscopy, after discussion between you and your doctor.

Allow a total appointment time of 45 minutes, but the procedure itself normally takes 5-10 minutes. Biopsies may take a little longer.

Before the Procedure

  • No special preparation is required for the procedure. You may eat and drink as normal.
  • You have been given the necessary theatre pre-admission documentation to be returned in the enclosed envelope prior to the procedure.
  • If you require time off work for this procedure, please discuss this with your doctor.
  • Keep taking your usual medications.

During the Procedure

  • Sterile drapes will be placed to guard against infection.
  • Local anaesthetic jelly will be used to make the procedure more comfortable.
  • The cystoscope will gently be passed into your urethra and bladder.
  • The bladder will slowly be filled with sterile water to make the lining of the bladder visible.
  • The doctor will explain the procedure as he examines your bladder.

After The Procedure

  • A sick certificate and a follow-up appointment will be arranged if necessary
  • You should be able to resume normal activities the next day.

Post-operative and Discharge Planning

  • After the procedure you may experience:
    • The passing of blood-stained urine
    • Frequency, urgency, and burning when passing urine, this should settle within 24 hours.
  • You should drink extra water and take Ural sachets (from the chemist) eight hourly if discomfort persists.
  • If the symptoms do not settle within 24 hours or occur thereafter, please telephone the practice to speak to your doctor or the nurse.

Risks and Complications

Flexible cystoscopy is a safe and commonly performed procedure. Side effects are generally mild and short-lived.

Difficulties passing urine

It is common to notice mild frequency, urgency and burning when passing urine, which should settle within 48 hours. Drinking extra water can help this. Ural sachets (from the Chemist) taken 8 hourly can help.

Passing blood in the urine

Should also settle within 48 hours. It is important to drink water as mentioned above. More likely to occur if a biopsy is taken.

Urinary Infection

Occurs rarely and should be suspected if difficulties passing urine do not settle. You may require treatment with antibiotics.

Unsuccessful procedure

Rarely it may be difficult to visualize the bladder and the cystoscopy will need to be repeated.