Cystoscopy and Ureteroscopy (cont.)

What is a ureteroscopy?

A ureteroscopy is an examination or procedure using a ureteroscope. A ureteroscope, like a cystoscope, is an instrument for examining the inside of the urinary tract. A ureteroscope is longer and thinner than a cystoscope and is used to see beyond the bladder into the ureters, the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder. Some ureteroscopes are flexible like a thin, long straw. Others are more rigid and firm. Through the ureteroscope, the doctor can see a stone in the ureter and then remove it with a small basket at the end of a wire inserted through an extra channel in the ureteroscope. Another way to treat a stone through a ureteroscope is to extend a flexible fiber through the scope up to the stone and then, with a laser beam shone through the fiber, break the stone into smaller pieces that can then pass out of the body in the urine. How and what the doctor will do is determined by the location, size, and composition of the stone.

Picture of rigid cystoscope (left) and semirigid ureteroscope (right).
Picture of rigid cystoscope (left) and semirigid ureteroscope (right).

The reasons for ureteroscopy include the following conditions:

  • frequent urinary tract infections
  • hematuria
  • unusual cells found in a urine sample
  • urinary blockage caused by an abnormal narrowing of the ureter
  • a kidney stone in the ureter
  • an unusual growth, polyp, tumor, or cancer in the ureter

What are the preparations for a cystoscopy or ureteroscopy?

Comment on this

People scheduled for a cystoscopy or ureteroscopy should ask their doctor about any special instructions. In most cases, for cystoscopy, people will be able to eat normally in the hours before the test. For ureteroscopy, people may be told not to eat before the test.

Because any medical procedure has a small risk of injury, patients must sign a consent form before the test. They should not hesitate to ask their doctor about any concerns they might have.

Patients may be asked to give a urine sample before the test to check for infection. They should avoid urinating for an hour before this part of the test.

For cytoscopy, patients lie on their back with knees raised and apart. A nurse or technician cleans the area around the urethral opening and applies a local anesthetic so the patient will not experience any discomfort during the test.

People having a ureteroscopy may receive a spinal or general anesthetic. They should arrange for a ride home after the test.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/31/2014

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Urology Question: What was your experience during your cystoscopy or ureteroscopy? Did you experience discomfort? Please explain.
Urology Question: What did your doctor tell you to do to prepare for your cystoscopy or ureteroscopy?

STAY INFORMED

Get the Latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!