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A cystoscopy is a procedure that uses a special camera to look inside the bladder.

  • Used to diagnose the cause of urinary symptoms 
  • Can investigate enlarged prostate or bladder cancer
  • Also used during biopsy or bladder botox treatment 
  • Flexible or rigid cystoscopy
  • You may be able to go home on the same day

Birmingham Prostate Clinic are a team of leading urologists and oncologists, who specialise in diagnosing and treating prostate, bladder and kidney conditions.

Our consultants are experienced in diagnosing and treating all kinds of common urinary conditions. 

With a range of diagnostic tools at the ready, they can pinpoint exactly what’s causing your problem. And they don’t stop there – they can also get you on a treatment pathway that’s personalised for you.

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It’s time to get some answers about your health. Our expert consultants are available for appointments to discuss your symptoms and the tests and scans you might need.

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What is a cystoscopy?

A cystoscopy is a procedure to look inside your bladder. It uses a long, thin tube called a cystoscope, which has a camera and light at one end. 

The cystoscope is gently placed into your urine tube (urethra). Your urologist will be able to see your urethra and bladder on a screen.

There are two types of cystoscopy:

  • Flexible cystoscopy – uses a bendy cystoscope and is often done while you’re awake with local anaesthetic
  • Rigid cystoscopy – uses a straight, non-flexible cystoscope and can be done while you’re awake with spinal anaesthesia or asleep under general anaesthesia

Why would you need a cystoscopy?

A urologist would do a cystoscopy for a number of reasons.

They may need to check bladder symptoms like:

  • Blood in your urine
  • Any problems with urinating, like pain, frequent urges, or not being able to empty your bladder
  • Trouble controlling your bladder
  • Pain in your lower stomach that won’t go away
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs) that keep coming back

A cystoscopy can be part of a treatment, including:

  • Shrinking the prostate if it’s enlarged
  • Removing bladder stones
  • Injecting medicines into the bladder, such as botox

A cystoscopy can also be used to:

  • Take a tissue sample (biopsy) for testing
  • Find blockages or narrowing in the urethra called strictures
  • Look for cancer that has spread into the bladder from nearby areas
  • Monitor how well a treatment is working

What can a cystoscopy diagnose?

A cystoscopy can diagnose possible bladder cancer or an enlarged prostate. It can also help pinpoint the cause of urinary tract infections (UTIs), pain in your stomach, or urinary incontinence.

Your urologist will explain exactly what they’re looking for before your procedure.

Why choose Birmingham Prostate Clinic?

We are a leading group of urological and cancer experts with a seamless patient pathway for personalised treatments. 

Our urologists can help pinpoint your problem and get you on a path to treat the underlying cause.

What to expect if you’re having a cystoscopy


  • On the day, you’ll provide a urine sample to make sure you don’t have an infection
  • You may need antibiotics to prevent an infection after the procedure


  • You’ll have an anaesthetic, so the procedure shouldn’t hurt 
  • Next, your doctor gently inserts the cystoscope through the urethra and into the bladder
  • A sterile solution is pumped into your bladder for better visibility
  • Your urologist does a thorough examination and carries out any planned procedures, like a biopsy or treatment
  • The procedure can take around 15 to 30 minutes if you’re under a general anaesthetic
  • It can be as quick as five minutes with local anaesthesia


  • In some cases, you might have a catheter in place to help you urinate
  • You’ll need to drink plenty of water to flush out your bladder
  • You may be able to go home on the same day or after a short stay
  • For the first few days, it may be slightly painful to urinate, and you might notice some blood in your urine

What are the next steps?

After your cystoscopy, your urologist will tell you what they saw. They may recommend some next steps straight away, like another test or treatment. 

If they took a tissue sample, it’ll be sent to a lab – you’ll get results after one or two weeks. You might need a follow-up appointment to talk about the results.

What are the risks of a cystoscopy?

Cystoscopy is generally a low risk procedure. There’s a chance of getting a UTI afterwards – watch for symptoms including:

  • Cloudy or smelly pee
  • A high temperature
  • Painful urination that lasts more than a few days

Swelling can also make it difficult to urinate after a cystoscopy, and some people need a temporary catheter.

Rarely, a cystoscopy can damage your bladder. The skill level of your doctor can help minimise this kind of risk.

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Get in touch with our friendly team to find out more about tests or treatment, or to book an appointment with an expert consultant near you.