Atrium Health Navicent Women's Care Urogynecology & Pelvic Surgery


What is cystoscopy?

Woman sitting casually and smilingCystoscopy is a procedure that is performed in the office that allows the physician to evaluate the inside of the bladder and urethra. If you are having issues with your urinary tract, you may be need to have a cystoscopy performed to determine if the cause.

Cystoscopy is generally performed for the following symptoms :

  • Recurrent or frequent bladder infections
  • Blood in the urine
  • Abnormal cells in the urine
  • Bladder pain
  • Urgency of urination
  • Overactive bladder

How is cystoscopy performed?

There are typically two types of cystoscopes that can be used to perform your cystoscopy. However, the components of the cystoscopes are the same. They cystoscopy is special telescope that is small enough to place through the urethra in order to look inside the bladder.

  • Flexible cystoscopes are designed to easily pass through the urethra and may be more comfortable for the patient. Because the tip of the cystoscope is flexible, it allows for a complete evaluation of the bladder and urethra.
  • Rigid cystoscopes typically have additional channels or ports that allow for the placement of additional instruments into the bladder. This allows for other cystoscopic procedures such as BOTOX injections and periurethral bulking agents to be performed.

Is the test uncomfortable?

When this procedure is performed in the office, there may be some initial discomfort when the cystoscope is initially placed. However most patients tolerate the procedure very well. Dr. Kow typically places some anesthetic jelly (lidocaine jelly) to the urethra prior to performing the procedure in order to help with any discomfort.

What are the risks?

Cystoscopy is a very low risk procedure. However with every procedure there always some risks. These risks include the following:

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Bleeding
  • Injury to the bladder or urethra

How long does the procedure take?

Overall, the procedure takes about 15 minutes to perform. You will be asked to provide a urine sample at the before the procedure to ensure you do not have a urinary tract infection. First anesthetic jelly is applied to the urethra and allowed to work for about 5 minutes. Afterwards Dr. Kow will place the cystoscope and evaluate your bladder and urethra.

What should I expect afterwards?

We recommend drinking extra fluids over the next 24 hours. Occasionally patients may experience some temporary burning when they urinate or some blood tinged urine. If these symptoms persist past 24 hours, this could indicate an infection. If you have continued symptoms, you should contact Dr. Kow.

Will my insurance company cover the procedure?

Most insurance policies will cover office cystoscopy. Our office will help you with obtaining prior authorization if your insurance policy requires it. If you have further questions, contact your insurance carrier to determine the details regarding your coverage.