Cystoscopy Instructions

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 in 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 afterward. 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.

If you are experiencing an emergency that cannot be accommodated by an office visit the same or the next business day in either of our locations, please dial 911 or go to your nearest or favorite emergency room and ensure that Dr. Engel or Dr. Tobon are contacted to take part in your care. As a reminder, USW physicians have privileges at Reston Hospital Center, Holy Cross Hospital Silver Spring, and Holy Cross Hospital Germantown.

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.


Urologic Surgeons of Washington is a proud member of Privia Medical Group. The best doctors in our community have joined together to form Privia Medical Group (PMG), a multi-specialty, high-performance medical group that puts patients first. Our physicians are united by the mission of providing better, more coordinated care for their patients.

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