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Flexible Cystoscopy

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Learn more about flexible cystoscopy at King Edward VII’s Hospital

Why would I need a flexible cystoscopy?

Patients needing a flexible cystoscopy generally have problems with their bladder or urethra that are making it difficult to pass urine, or they have blood in their urine or suffer frequent urine infections. A flexible cystoscopy can also look for the presence of bladder cancer.

What symptoms does a flexible cystoscopy address?

A flexible cystoscopy isn’t used to treat symptoms. Instead, doctors use a flexible cystoscopy to look at the inside of the bladder to help diagnose or rule out certain bladder conditions.

When should you speak to your specialist about a flexible cystoscopy?

If you’re experiencing trouble urinating, unexplained pelvic pain, frequent urine infections or blood in your urine, speak to your specialist. They will discuss some tests with you, including the possibility of a flexible cystoscopy.

How is a flexible cystoscopy performed?

A flexible cystoscopy is performed whilst you’re awake. Your specialist will use a local anaesthetic gel to numb the area. The procedure lasts approximately 90 seconds and you’ll be able to return home almost immediately after.

Your specialist will pass a long, thin medical instrument called a cystoscope into your urethra (the tube that takes urine from your bladder to the outside of your body) and up into your bladder. The cystoscope has a light and a camera on the end to give your doctor a good view of the inside of your bladder on a nearby screen.

What is the recovery like for a flexible cystoscopy?

After a flexible cystoscopy, you may feel some slight discomfort when passing urine, but this will normally disappear after a couple of days and can be helped with painkillers. You may also notice some blood in your urine, which should also clear up within a few days.

Your medical team will discuss your next steps with you, depending on the results of your flexible cystoscopy and any biopsies taken.

Are there any risks/complications associated with a flexible cystoscopy?

As with any medical procedure, it’s possible for risks or complications to arise.

A flexible cystoscopy has a relatively low risk of serious complications, but the following risks and complications can occur in a small number of cases:

  • Urine or bladder infection
  • Urine retention (the inability to pass urine)
  • Bladder damage

How can I prepare for a flexible cystoscopy?

Prior to a flexible cystoscopy, your surgeon will discuss with you how best to prepare for surgery, as each patient is different.

Are there alternatives for a flexible cystoscopy?

A rigid cystoscopy is similar to a flexible cystoscopy, but the instrument used is slightly wider and doesn’t bend. It’s normally used if you need treatment for a problem in your bladder, rather than to just look inside your bladder, and is usually carried out under a general anaesthetic.

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