This information is approved and/or reviewed by U-M Health System providers but it is not a tool for self-diagnosis or a substitute for medical treatment. You should speak to your physician or make an appointment to be seen if you have questions or concerns about this information or your medical condition.| Complete disclaimer


Cystoscopy allows us to visually inspect the interior of your urethra and bladder. This study is often performed in people who have blood in the urine, difficulty emptying the bladder, or infections. We can determine if there are any structural abnormalities including narrowed areas (strictures or contractures), outpouchings (diverticulum), and enlarged prostates in males.  Inflammation, bleeding, stones, and tumors can also be identified.  This study also allows us to evaluate the muscle (sphincter) which regulates the outflow of urine from your bladder.

  1. You will be positioned on the exam table lying on your back; or if you use a wheelchair that reclines, the study can be performed while you remain in your wheelchair. Your legs will either be placed in stirrups or you will be asked to bend your knees and relax your legs out to the side. A sterile drape will be placed to provide privacy. Your urethral opening will be cleansed with betadine to eliminate bacteria on the surface. A clear gel containing numbing medicine will be gently placed into your urethra. After the numbing medicine has started working, a small flexible tube, that is equipped with a light and camera (cystoscope), will be inserted into your urethra and advanced into the bladder. The physician will look through the eyepiece of the camera to visualize your urethra and the bladder. Fluid will flow slowly into your urethra and bladder through the cystoscope to distend the walls allowing for clear visualization.

You may feel a burning sensation when the numbing medicine is inserted into the urethra. You may feel burning or pressure when the cystoscope is inserted. You may feel a sensation of coolness as the fluid fills your bladder. The fluid may drip onto your skin when the cystoscope is withdrawn. It is normal to feel some irritation with urination for 24-48 hours following the procedure. You may also note a small amount of blood in the urine. You will be given an antibiotic to guard against infection.

You do not have to do anything special to prepare for this study. You may eat or drink as you usually do.  It is done in the clinic and does not require sedation or anesthesia.  The procedure itself lasts less than 5 minutes. If you are interested, you may request to watch the study on a screen. You may resume your usual activities immediately following the cystoscopy.

Call the clinic nurse if you develop a fever of 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, chills, persistent bleeding, or cannot