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Rigid Cystoscopy

What is a Cystoscopy?

The Rigid Cystoscopy is performed under general anaesthetic. A cystoscopy is an examination of the inside of the bladder using a thin, tube-like telescope called a cystoscope. This instrument is carefully passed up the urethra (the tube that passes urine out of the body) and into the bladder.

Why do I need a Cystoscopy?

A cystoscopy is a quick and easy way of finding out what is causing your symptoms such as blood in the urine and problems passing urine, and as a check-up for certain bladder conditions. It enables me to inspect the bladder lining very closely and I can usually tell you at the time of the procedure whether there is anything wrong or not. During the procedure, I may also take a biopsy – a small sample of the lining of the bladder – for examination in the laboratory. Because the procedure is performed under a general anaesthetic, it also allows me to treat any abnormalities I may find at the time of procedure. This includes dilating the urethra if there is a narrowing.

How is it performed?

Cystoscopy is usually performed as a day case procedure, with no overnight stay in hospital. However, if additional procedures such as removal of a bladder tumour etc. are necessary, you may have to stay in hospital overnight. After the procedure, you will recover from the general anaesthetic and you should be able to empty your bladder before you go home. I will speak to you before you are discharged about follow-up plans. If necessary, I will take a biopsy of the bladder lining for analysis, using tiny instruments that can be passed inside the cystoscope. This procedure is quick and painless. After the examination, the cystoscope is removed quickly and easily.

What are the risks, consequences and alternatives associated with having a Cystoscopy and Urethral Dilatation?

Most procedures are straightforward; however as with any surgical procedure there is a chance of side effects or complications.

Serious or frequently occurring risks


  • Mild bleeding or burning on passing urine for a short time after the procedure.


  • Temporary insertion of a catheter (tube passed through the urethra to empty your bladder) after the procedure.
  • Urine infection requiring antibiotics.
  • Finding of cancer or other abnormalities which may require further surgery or treatment.


  • Delayed bleeding requiring removal of clots or further surgery.
  • Injury to urethra causing delayed scar formation (urethral stricture).
  • Very rarely perforation of the bladder requiring temporary insertion of a catheter or open surgical repair.

Alternatives to cystoscopy

Cystoscopy can also be performed under a local anaesthetic using a finer flexible cystoscope for diagnostic purpose but no therapeutic procedures can usually be undertaken with this instrument.


This information is intended as a general educational guide and may not apply to your situation. You must not rely on this information as an alternative to consultation with your urologist or other health professional.

Not all potential complications are listed, and you must talk to your urologist about the complications specific to your situation.