What Is It?

Cystoscopy is a procedure that allows doctors to look inside the bladder and the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder. A cystoscope is a tubelike instrument with lenses, a camera and a light on one end and an eyepiece on the other. With a cystoscope, your doctor can examine the urethra and the lining of the bladder. If necessary, your doctor can pass surgical instruments through the cystoscope to perform specific procedures. In most cases, a simple cystoscopy lasts 5 to 10 minutes. Procedures that are more complex take longer.

What It's Used For

Cystoscopy checks inside the bladder for tumors, sites of bleeding, signs of infection, stones (calculi) and causes of bladder outlet obstruction. It also can be used to:

  • Remove a sample of a bladder tumor to be examined in a laboratory — This procedure is called a biopsy.

  • Remove and treat some types of bladder tumors

  • Obtain a urine sample from the ureters (two tubes that carry urine from each kidney to the bladder) — This enables doctors to check for infection or tumor involving only one kidney.

  • Remove a stone (calculi) from the bladder or ureter

  • Insert a stent (a small tube) into the ureter to widen the pathway and relieve an obstruction (caused by a stone, scarring or a narrowing of the ureter)

  • Perform an X-ray procedure in which the cystoscope carries a dye to the kidney to show the path of urine and pinpoint areas of obstruction — This procedure is called retrograde pyelography.


Your doctor will review your medical and surgical histories, current medications and history of allergies. If you may be pregnant, tell your doctor before the procedure.

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