Cystoscopy is one of the most common procedures in urologic practice. It is a means by which your physician can do a “physical examination” of the urethra and the bladder. It is actually more than that given the fact that we are able to perform bladder biopsies and other manipulations as well as assess the size of a man’s prostate prior to considering surgery.
The cystoscope is a fiber optic instrument that is inserted through the urethra into the bladder. The procedure is usually done under local anesthesia in the office. Local anesthesia implies using a gel impregnated with lidocaine. This gel is injected (no needles) into the urethra. It works on contact with the lining of the urethra. While it does not totally numb the urethra, it does decrease the discomfort measurably. The key to a comfortable cystoscopy is relaxation and the avoidance of panic on the patient’s part. If accomplished, a cystoscopy is not particularly uncomfortable, and usually takes less than one minute.
For office cystoscopy, no particular preparation is necessary. Patients may eat or drink prior to the procedure, come unaccompanied, and go back to work afterwards. Your physician will discuss the findings immediately after the procedure.
For simple cystoscopy, the risks of the procedure are minimal. You will receive 24 hours of antibiotic coverage on the day of the procedure, making the risk of post procedure infection very low. Following the procedure, it is common to have a bit of burning on urination. A small amount of blood in the urine is also common.
Should you be unable to urinate following the procedure or if you develop a fever above 100.5° F, come immediately to our office or to the George Washington or Sibley Emergency Room to be helped. For minor symptoms, be patient, and your symptoms should abate within a day or so.
Talk to your physician about any other procedures that might be mentioned along with the cystoscopy, and whether or not they are appropriately done in the office, or the surgery center, awake, or asleep. We will attempt to make this procedure as painless, both physically and mentally, as possible.