What is cystoscopy?

Cystoscopy involves examining the lining of the bladder using a telescope, which is passed through the urethra (waterpipe) into the bladder.

What is the bladder?

The bladder is situated in the lower part of your abdomen and is a hollow muscular organ. Your kidneys produce urine, which is made up of water and waste products. The urine is carried by two pipes, called ureters, to the bladder. The bladder stores the urine until it is full enough to be emptied. The urine will then pass down the urethra into the toilet. In males, the urethra is quite long and passes through the prostate and down the penis. In females, the urethra is mush shorter and can be found immediately in front of the vagina.

What happens during the operation?

This operation is performed either under general anaesthetic or spinal anaesthetic, depending on which is the best method for you. The decision will be made by the anaesthetist who will discuss this with you prior to your operation. The operation enables the surgeon to see the lining of your bladder, an any abdominal tissues that can be seen can be destroyed using heat (diathermy). Tissue samples (biolsies) may be taken and are sent to the laboratory for careful examination.

What happens after the operation?

You will be taken from the theatre to the recovery room, where you will be closely monitored until you are awake enough to return to the ward. You may have a catheter (tube) inserted into your bladder to drain out any debris or blood from the operation. This is usually removed after 24 hours. Once your catheter is removed you can usually go home that day if you are able to pass urine independently.

How will I feel when I go home?

It may be uncomfortable to pass urine for two to three days after you have been discharged from hospital. It is important to drink plenty of fluids to help improve these symptoms. If your symptoms last longer than a week or you are worried about any thing else then you should seek advise from your GP. If at any time you cannot pass urine at all or start passing heavy blood clots you should call out your GP or go to your local A&E department. Biopsy results usually take around two to three weeks to come back. You will be given an outpatient appointment to discuss these results for around three weeks after you have been discharged home.

Will I have full control of my urine?

Following removal of the catheter, it is usual to feel the need to pass urine more often than usual following your operation. This will settle down within a few days, once your bladder starts to heal.

Will I still see blood in my urine?

It is usual to see some blood in your urine for a couple of weeks following the operation. It is important to drink plenty of fluids to flush the kidneys in order for them to be able to heal. If the bleeding become heavy and there are thick blood clots that block the flow of urine, you should contact your GP.

How much shall I drink?

You should drink up to two litres per day for the first week, as this will help to wash away the blood and prevent infection. After this, you should try to drink more fluid than you would usually do. You may drink alcohol when you return home (in moderation!).

What if I get an infection?

Following the operation you are at risk of getting an infection. If you find that your urine becomes cloudy or smelly, and you have a burning sensation on passing urine, then you should contact your GP, as you may need a course of antibiotics.


All operations carry the risk of complications. However, general anaesthetics are very safe these days and you will have the opportunity to discuss these risks and complications with the anaesthetist prior to your operation. Any form of surgery carries the risk of you developing a chest infection, a clot in your lug or leg, bleeding during or after surgery, or developing cardiac problems. Your doctor will discuss all risks and complications with you when you attend the pre admission clinic.