Cystoscopy and Ureteroscopy (cont.)
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How is a cystoscopy or ureteroscopy performed?
After a local anesthetic is used to take away sensation in the ureter, the doctor gently inserts the tip of the cystoscope or ureteroscope into the urethra and slowly glides it up into the bladder. A sterile liquid -- water or salt water, called saline -- flows through the scope to slowly fill the bladder and stretch it so the doctor has a better view of the bladder wall.
As the bladder is filled with liquid, patients feel some discomfort and the urge to urinate. The doctor may then release some of the fluid, or the patient may empty the bladder as soon as the examination is over.
The time from insertion of the scope to removal may be only a few minutes, or it may be longer if the doctor finds a stone and decides to treat it. Taking a biopsy -- a small tissue sample for examination with a microscope -- will also make the procedure last longer. In most cases, the entire examination, including preparation, takes 15 to 30 minutes.
What happens after a cystoscopy or ureteroscopy?
Patients may have a mild burning feeling when they urinate, and they may see small amounts of blood in their urine. These problems should not last more than 24 hours. Patients should tell their doctor if bleeding or pain is severe or if problems last more than a day.
To relieve discomfort, patients should drink two 8-ounce glasses of water each hour for 2 hours after the procedure. They may ask their doctor if they can take a warm bath to relieve the burning feeling. If not, they may be able to hold a warm, damp washcloth over the urethral opening.