Cystoscopy is performed with a cystoscope -- a special tube with a small camera on the end (endoscope). There are two types of cystoscopes:
- Standard, rigid cystoscope
- Flexible cystoscope
The way the cystoscope is inserted varies, but the test is the same. Which cystoscope your health care provider uses depends on the purpose of the exam.
The procedure usually takes 5 - 20 minutes. The urethra is cleansed. A numbing medicine is applied to the skin lining the inside of the urethra, without using any needles. The scope is then inserted through the urethra into the bladder.
Water or salt water (saline) flows through the cystoscope to fill the bladder. As this occurs, you will be asked to describe the feeling. Your answer will reveal information about your condition.
As fluid fills the bladder, it stretches the bladder wall. This lets your health care provider see the entire bladder wall. You will feel the need to urinate when the bladder is full. However, the bladder must stay full until the exam is finished.
If any tissue looks abnormal, a small sample can be taken (biopsy) through the cystoscope and sent to a lab to be tested.