A cystoscopy is an endoscopic examination of the urethra and the bladder. It is used to detect diseases of the urethra and the bladder, and is carried out with a cystoscope (instrument with a light and a camera). Smaller tumours or bladder stones can be removed simultaneously during the examination.

Cystoscopy allows the urethra and the bladder to be examined with the help of a camera. This examination method is extremely important because it can be used to detect the early signs of bladder cancer. Other common reasons for a cystoscopy are chronic cystitis, bladder stones or blood in the urine.

What preparations are carried out before the procedure?

No special preparation is required for a cystoscopy. All blood-thinning medication must be discontinued prior to the examination.

How is the examination carried out?

Cystoscopy is usually performed on an outpatient basis. The patient sits on a special cystoscopy chair for the examination. First, the urethral opening and the surroundings are disinfected. Then a lubricant is injected into the urethra which numbs the area. After that, the cystoscope is carefully fed through the urethra until it reaches the bladder, all the while using medical imaging on a screen as a guide. The cystoscope is a thin, flexible, tubular instrument with a light and a camera on its tip. There is a display unit on the other end for the person conducting the examination. The images can also be transmitted to a monitor via the camera.

The bladder is continuously flushed with irrigation fluid via a separate channel to provide the surgeon with a clearer view. The instrument can also be used to take tissue samples for diagnostic purposes. Smaller tumours or bladder stones can be removed simultaneously during the examination.

The examination usually only takes a few minutes. It is largely pain-free for women, but it can be a little uncomfortable and sometimes mildly painful for men due to their longer, curved urethra.

What is the success rate of this examination?

The examination is ideal for detecting diseases of the urethra and the bladder. A cystoscopy is particularly important for the diagnosis of bladder cancer.

What are the possible complications and risks of this examination?

A cystoscopy is a low-risk examination. It can sometimes cause mild bleeding or temporary pain while the patient is urinating due to the irritation of the mucous membrane.

What happens after the examination?

No particular follow-up treatment is required after the cystoscopy. If tissue samples have been taken, the final diagnosis may not be available for a few days. The follow-up treatment depends on the type of the disease diagnosed.

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