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How is a cystoscopy procedure performed?

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Quick Answer

To perform a cystoscopy, the urologist numbs the opening of the patient's urethra and inserts a cystoscope to examine the lining of the urethra as well as the patient's bladder, according to MayoClinic. The urologist uses a lens mounted on the end of the cystoscope to detect any medical abnormalities.

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Full Answer

Prior to the procedure, patients must remove some or all of their clothing (a hospital gown is provided) and lie down on the examination table. Patients may be given a sedative to reduce pain and discomfort during the cystoscopy, as reported by WebMD. Patients must keep their legs apart and both knees bent so the urologist can easily reach the patient's urethra. Equipment such as foot or thigh stirrups may be available to provide patients additional comfort and support.

As the cystoscope reaches the patient's bladder, the urologist injects saline or sterile water to expand the bladder. This allows the urologist to see the patient's bladder without obstruction, as stated by WebMD. The urologist may take tissue samples or perform a biopsy if necessary by using small instruments that fit through the cystoscope. For most patients, a cystoscopy typically takes between 10 to 30 minutes, according to MayoClinic. Patients may resume daily activities once the sedatives wear off.

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