All You Need To Know About Cystoscopy
Dr. Alex Shteynshlyuger is a board-certified urologist in NYC who specializes in treating men and women with urinary problems including frequent urination, difficulty emptying the bladder, urinary urgency and incontinence.
What is Cystoscopy?
Cystoscopy is a procedure that allows the urologist to take a look at the internal lining of the urinary bladder and the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body). The procedure is performed with an instrument called the cystoscope. The cystoscope is a thin tube, thinner than a pencil, equipped with a light and a camera. In the office, we use the latest flexible cystoscope that offers minimal discomfort to patients. In the operating room, usually a slightly larger cystoscopy is used, called rigid cystoscope because it does not bend.
During the cystoscopy procedure, the urologist examines the areas of the bladder and urethra that cannot be seen well on imaging studies such as x-rays. Studies show that cystoscopy is superior to CT scan and MRI for evaluation of bladder wall and for detection of bladder tumors.
It is also possible for tiny surgical tools to be inserted through the cystoscope. This allows the urologist to retrieve small stones from the bladder or obtain a biopsy (sample of tissue) for examination under the microscope. Sometimes a small growth may be completely removed during cystoscopy, preventing the need for further surgery.
Who Performs Cystoscopy?
Cystoscopy is typically performed by urologists. Urologists at New York Urology Specialists have performed thousands of cystoscopies and are very experienced in the diagnostic and therapeutic use of cystoscopy.
How is Cystoscopy Performed?
Cystoscopy is usually an outpatient procedure performed in a urologist’s office under local anesthesia. Sometimes it may be necessary to use sedation. Less often, cystoscopy is done in the hospital setting under general anesthesia usually as part of another surgical procedure.
On average, a cystoscopy procedure takes less than 3-5 minutes to complete. If a biopsy is performed during the procedure, it may take an extra 5 minutes.
A urine sample is obtained before the cystoscopy to check for infection. The procedure can only go ahead if there is no urinary tract infection (UTI), with rare exceptions
Before the procedure begins, the risks of the procedure will be explained to you. You will need to sign a consent form, agreeing to the procedure. You will be asked to empty your bladder. A local anesthetic gel will then be applied to numb the urethra. The urologist will then slowly insert the cystoscope into the urethra and advance it towards the urinary bladder. Sterile water or saline (salt) solution will be infused into the bladder through the cystoscope. This fluid expands the bladder and stretches its wall, making it clearly visible to the urologist. The camera on the cystoscope functions like a telescope and captures images from inside the bladder. These images are displayed on a television monitor where the urologist can see them. In our offices, we use video-cystoscopy. You can view the procedure on the TV monitor as the urologist examines it. We will show you and explain any abnormalities that we might find during the procedure.
Cystoscopy is performed in our offices by appointment.