Cystoscopy and Ureteroscopy

1 What are Cystoscopy and Ureteroscopy?

Read on to learn more about cystoscopy and ureteroscopy procedures.

A cystoscopy is an examination of the inside of the bladder and urethra. It is done to find the cause of many urinary conditions, including frequent urinary tract infections, blood in the urine (hematuria), a frequent and urgent need to urinate, unusual cells found in a urine sample, painful urination, chronic pelvic pain, or interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome, urinary blockage caused by prostate enlargement or some other abnormal narrowing of the urinary tract, a stone in the urinary tract, such as a kidney stone and an unusual growth, polyp, tumor, or cancer in the urinary tract.

An ureteroscopy is an examination of the inside of the urinary tract. It is done when the patient is having: frequent urinary tract infections, hematuria (blood in the urine), unusual cells found in a urine sample, urinary blockage caused by an abnormal narrowing of the ureter, a kidney stone in the ureter, an unusual growth, polyp, tumor, or cancer in the ureter.

Before both examinations, the patient will receive instructions from a doctor. Usually, before cystoscopy, the patient will be able to eat normally in the hours before the test and before ureteroscopy, the patient may be told not to eat before the test.

During the procedures, the patient will first receive a local anesthetic (cystoscopy) or a spinal or general anesthetic (ureteroscopy). Then a sterile liquid (water or salt water) will flow through the scope to slowly fill the bladder and stretch it so the doctor has a better view of the bladder wall. The patient will feel some discomfort and the urge to urinate but the doctor may then release some of the fluid.

For a cystoscopy, a doctor will use a cystoscope – a long, thin instrument with an eyepiece on the external end and a tiny lens and a light on the end that is inserted into the bladder through the urethra.

For an ureteroscopy, a doctor will use an ureteroscope which is longer and thinner than a cystoscope and is used to see beyond the bladder into the ureters, the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.

With this instrument, the doctor will not only see a stone in the ureter but a doctor can remove it with a small basket at the end of a wire inserted through an extra channel in the ureteroscope. Also, a doctor can remove a stone with a laser beam through an ureteroscope.

The entire examination, including preparation, takes 15 to 30 minutes.

After cystoscopy and ureteroscopy, the patient may have a mild burning feeling when urinating and may see small amounts of blood in their urine but these problems should not last more than 24 hours. Patients should drink two 8-ounce glasses of water each hour for 2 hours after the procedure to relieve discomfort and also can take a bath or using a warm, damp washcloth to relieve the burning feeling.