During the procedure, the overall health of the bladder will be examined, as well as the health of the urethra. The scope can also be used to see if there are any polyps in the bladder. You will receive sedation medications before the cystoscopy so that you're comfortable. General anesthesia can be used as well, especially if you are having other tests or procedures done at the same time.
When you're in the procedure room, your doctor will insert a thin, flexible tube through your urethra and into the bladder. The tube has a lens on the end that allows your doctor to easily view the structure of the bladder without needing to make any incisions. There are different types of a cystoscopy that can be performed depending on why your doctor wants to perform the procedure.
If you've had cancer in your bladder in the past or you have a family history of this kind of cancer, then you would be a candidate for a cystoscopy to make sure there are no polyps or signs of cancer. Women who have had any kind of sign or symptom associated with issues related to the bladder will usually be recommended to have a cystoscopy performed. This procedure can assist in determining why you might have frequent urinary tract infections or why you experience incontinence.
Bladder stones and bladder cancer can be diagnosed during a cystoscopy. If there are any issues seen, then the proper tools can be gently moved through the scope in order to treat them. Small tumors and polyps can usually be removed while the scope is in place.
For most women, there are little to no side effects from a cystoscopy. You usually don't need to stay in the hospital after the procedure unless there are significant issues that your doctor sees that should be further examined. Keep in mind that an infection could develop if there are germs or bacteria introduced while the scope is in place. You might see a small amount of blood in your urine because of the scope being inserted through your urethra and urinary tract. Even though you are sedated or asleep during the procedure, you might experience some pain once the medication wears off.
You will usually need to take antibiotics before the procedure. Your doctor will likely want you to have an empty bladder so that the cystoscopy is effective. When you arrive at the location for the procedure, a nurse will begin an IV so that sedation medications can be given. The cystoscopy will take about 15 minutes to complete, or longer if there are any concerns that your doctor needs to address. After a numbing gel is applied, your doctor will gently insert the scope through the urethra. A sterile solution is sometimes used to give your doctor a better view of your bladder.
After the procedure, you may need someone to give you a ride home due to the sedatives that can be used.