What is Cystoscopy?

Cystoscopy is a medical procedure used to examine the inside of the bladder and urethra using a thin, lighted instrument called a cystoscope. This procedure can help diagnose and treat a variety of urinary tract problems, including bladder infections, urinary incontinence, urinary tract stones, and bladder cancer.

During a cystoscopy procedure, the patient is typically placed in a lithotomy position, lying on their back with their feet supported in stirrups. The urethra is then lubricated and the cystoscope is gently inserted through the urethra and into the bladder. The cystoscope allows the physician to visually examine the bladder walls for any abnormalities, such as tumors, inflammation, or signs of infection.

There are two types of cystoscopes that can be used for this procedure: rigid and flexible. A rigid cystoscope is a straight, inflexible instrument that requires a general anesthetic and is typically used for more complex procedures, such as removing bladder stones or tumors. A flexible cystoscope, on the other hand, is a smaller, more flexible instrument that can be used with a local anesthetic and is often used for routine diagnostic exams.

Depending on the reason for the procedure, additional tools may be used during the cystoscopy to perform treatments or take tissue samples for further examination. These may include a biopsy instrument to remove small tissue samples, a laser to remove bladder tumors, or a small brush to collect cells for testing.

Cystoscopy is generally a safe and well-tolerated procedure, although some patients may experience mild discomfort or pain during and after the procedure, as well as some urinary symptoms, such as burning or urgency. These side effects are usually temporary and can be managed with pain medication and other treatments as needed.

There are some risks associated with cystoscopy, although they are rare. These may include bleeding, infection, and damage to the urethra or bladder. Patients with certain medical conditions, such as bleeding disorders or an active urinary tract infection, may not be suitable candidates for the procedure.

Prior to undergoing a cystoscopy, patients should inform their physician of any medical conditions, medications, or allergies they have. They may also need to avoid eating or drinking for several hours before the procedure, and arrange for someone to drive them home afterwards if they receive sedation or anesthesia.

In summary, cystoscopy is a medical procedure used to examine the bladder and urethra for a variety of urinary tract problems. It is generally safe and well-tolerated, although some discomfort or side effects may occur. With proper preparation and care, cystoscopy can help diagnose and treat urinary tract conditions and improve patients’ overall health and well-being.

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