A cystoscopy uses a narrow lighted tube inserted in the urethra to examine the bladder, according to WebMD. The tube allows the doctor to insert tools to take a biopsy or urine sample to help make a diagnosis. A cystoscopy is sometimes used to remove small bladder stones or foreign objects.
The cystoscopy procedure takes place at a doctor's office, as an outpatient procedure, or at a hospital, notes Mayo Clinic. In a testing room, a local anesthetic is typically used, while as an outpatient, sedation is sometimes an option. A hospital-based cystoscopy may involve general anesthesia.
A physician may order a cystoscopy to find the cause of a problem within the urinary system, such as incontinence, painful urination or blood in the urine, states WebMD. The procedure can also work to treat problems that are already diagnosed, such as removing a blockage or treating bleeding in the bladder. If the patient needs to undergo a special X-ray procedure, the cystoscopy is sometimes used to inject dye into the body. Another use for a cystoscopy is to place a stent that aids in urine flow between the kidneys and bladder.
The procedure generally takes place with an empty bladder, says Mayo Clinic. The small scope goes into the urethra and may have a special lens or camera on the end. The physician fills the bladder with a sterile solution to get a better look at the bladder.