A cystoscopy is a simple, useful procedure that can help us diagnose abnormalities inside the bladder like Interstitial Cystitis. By inserting a camera through the urethra and into the bladder, we can see inflammation, blockages, and get an overall sense of the condition of the lining of the bladder. We can even take photos (which you’ll get to see). If necessary, we can take a small tissue sample or fill the bladder with fluid to help stretch it out to normal size.
Although urologists may elect to perform this procedure in an office setting we only do it as an outpatient procedure. Because you ladies with sensitive bladders are already experiencing spasms, pain, and tenderness, we want to use a general anesthesia so you are not awake or able to experience pain during the procedure. We also use a significant amount of lidocaine, even though you are asleep, to prevent discomfort. The fluid we fill the bladder with has an antibiotic in it to reduce the risk of bacterial infection afterward.
The cystoscopy only takes about twelve minutes and can either be done on its own or combined with other surgeries. For example, I oftentimes perform both a laparoscopic surgery and cystoscopy in the same visit to prevent my patients from having two separate visits to the surgery center. And since 70% of patients with Endometriosis also have Interstitial Cystitis, it’s kind of a two-for-one situation. We will talk about this during office visits well before the day of surgery.
After the procedure is over, you need to hold the liquid in your bladder for approximately four hours. Afterward, we can talk about the next step in bladder healing. Many patients choose a combination of dietary adjustments and medications.