Cystoscopy and Ureteroscopy

What is a cystoscopy?

A cystoscopy is an examination of the inside of the bladder and urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. In men, the urethra is the tube that runs through the penis. The doctor performing the examination uses a cystoscope-a long, thin instrument with an eyepiece on the external end and a tiny lens and a light on the end that is inserted into the bladder. The doctor inserts the cystoscope into the patient's urethra, and the small lens magnifies the inner lining of the urethra and bladder, allowing the doctor to see inside the hollow bladder. Many cystoscopes have extra channels within the sheath to insert other small instruments that can be used to treat or diagnose urinary problems.

Picture of male and female urinary tracts.
Picture of male and female urinary tracts.

A doctor may perform a cystoscopy to find the cause of many urinary conditions, including

  • frequent urinary tract infections
  • blood in the urine, which is called hematuria
  • a frequent and urgent need to urinate
  • unusual cells found in a urine sample
  • painful urination, chronic pelvic pain, or interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome
  • urinary blockage caused by prostate enlargement or some other abnormal narrowing of the urinary tract
  • a stone in the urinary tract, such as a kidney stone
  • an unusual growth, polyp, tumor, or cancer in the urinary tract
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/31/2014

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Cystoscopy and Ureteroscopy - Experience Question: What was your experience during your cystoscopy or ureteroscopy? Did you experience discomfort? Please explain.
Cystoscopy and Ureteroscopy - Preparation Question: What did your doctor tell you to do to prepare for your cystoscopy or ureteroscopy?