What is a Cystoscopy?

A cystoscopy is a medical procedure where a urology healthcare professional uses a thin, tube-like telescope called a cystoscope to look directly into the bladder for a close examination of the lining. This procedure is used to help find the cause of symptoms and to treat or monitor conditions.

If during a cystoscopy any abnormal growths or suspicious areas are seen, the doctor may remove tissue samples (biopsy) and send them to the laboratory to be examined.

A cystoscopy can be done while you are asleep under anesthesia or while you are awake with moderate sedation and/or pain management. Your doctor may instruct you to fast or have a light breakfast depending on whether you will be awake or asleep. Be sure to tell your doctor all the medications you currently take. Ask whether you should take them before your procedure or hold them until after.

Two types of cystoscopy

Today there are two types of cystoscopy: white light and blue light. For a long time, the only type available was white light. Recent technological advancements have introduced blue light as an enhancement to using white light alone.

White Light Cystoscopy:

During a cystoscopy procedure, the cystoscope shines light inside the bladder to aid in visibility. In a standard procedure, the light is regular white light—the type we all use every day to light a room.

White light helps your doctor visually assess the general health of your bladder and find irregularities to be further evaluated.

Blue Light Cystoscopy:

During a cystoscopy where blue light technology and Cysview are available, they are used in concert with white light. The urologist first views the bladder with white light, then switches to blue light to see the bright pink tissue areas that Cysview has caused to fluoresce. The doctor then switches between white and blue light to perform whatever procedures are necessary.

With the FDA approval of Cysview in 2010, several health facilities began offering the advanced Blue Light Cystoscopy with Cysview drug/device technology. Over the years, more and more facilities have followed suit.

Due to evidence of its effectiveness being seen in case after case, Blue Light Cystoscopy with Cysview was included in the 2016 AUA/SUO NMIBC Guideline released by the American Urological Association (AUA) and the Society of Urological Oncology (SUO). The Guideline recommendation is for increasing the detection and reducing recurrence of NMIBC. With this industry endorsement, even more urologists have begun enhancing their standard white light cystoscopy procedures by adding blue light and Cysview to the process.

With a standard cystoscopy procedure, your doctor can see some indicators of cancer under white light. With the addition of blue light and Cysview, the procedure offers significantly improved detection of suspicious areas compared to white light.1

After a cystoscopy

Here are some important things to keep in mind for after your cystoscopy:

  • Once the procedure is finished, your bladder will be full, so you may need to urinate.
  • Most people—including those who have just had local anesthesia—feel ready to go home after a short time; once home, you should plan to rest for the remainder of the day.
  • It is common to have some bladder spasms, which can make you feel like you need to urinate more often than usual.
  • For a couple days you may feel some pain or discomfort when you urinate.
  • Blood in the urine is common for several days after the procedure, particularly if you had any bladder tissue removed.
  • In rare cases, patients may have difficulty urinating after their cystoscopy; if that happens, your doctor may choose to discharge you with a urinary catheter in your bladder to drain excess fluid until any swelling goes down.
  • Some patients may develop a mild infection after a cystoscopy—watch for fever,chills, unrelieved nausea and/or vom iting, or inability to urinate; an infection may be treated with antibiotics. Consult your doctor if you are concerned.
  • In some cases your doctor may prescribe additional therapy, including in travesical chemotherapy (placed directly into the bladder).

Drinking plenty of water can help with many of the common issues experienced after a cystoscopy.

Follow your doctor’s discharge instructions carefully. Please contact your doctor’s office immediately, if:

  • after 2 or 3 days you still have blood in the urine
  • you see blood clots after you have urinated several times
  • you have severe symptoms of any kind