A cys­toscopy is an exam­i­na­tion of the inside of the blad­der and ure­thra, the tube that car­ries urine from the blad­der to the out­side of the body. In men, the ure­thra is the tube that runs through the penis. The doc­tor per­form­ing the exam­i­na­tion uses a cys­to­scope — a long, thin instru­ment with an eye­piece on the exter­nal end and a tiny lens and a light on the end that is insert­ed into the blad­der. Cys­toscopy is per­formed with a cys­to­scope — a spe­cial­ized tube with a small cam­era on the end (endo­scope). There are two types of cys­to­scopes: • Stan­dard, rigid cys­to­scope • Flex­i­ble cys­to­scope The way the cys­to­scope is insert­ed varies, but the test is the same. Which cys­to­scope your doc­tor uses depends on the pur­pose of the exam. If the stan­dard rigid cys­to­scope is used, you will lie on your back with your knees up and apart. If a flex­i­ble cys­to­scope is used, this posi­tion will not be nec­es­sary. The pro­ce­dure usu­al­ly takes 5 — 20 min­utes. The ure­thra is cleansed. A numb­ing med­i­cine is applied to the skin lin­ing the inside of the ure­thra, with­out using any nee­dles. The scope is then insert­ed through the ure­thra into the blad­der. Water or salt water (saline) flows through the cys­to­scope to fill the blad­der. As this occurs, you will be asked to describe the feel­ing. Your answer will reveal infor­ma­tion about your con­di­tion. As flu­id fills the blad­der, it stretch­es the blad­der wall. This lets your health care provider see the entire blad­der wall. You will feel the need to uri­nate when the blad­der is full. How­ev­er, it must remain full until the exam­i­na­tion is com­plete. If any tis­sue appears abnor­mal, a small sam­ple can be tak­en (biop­sy) through the cys­to­scope and sent to a lab for analy­sis. How the Test Will Feel You may feel slight dis­com­fort when the cys­to­scope is passed through the ure­thra into the blad­der. You will feel an uncom­fort­able, strong need to uri­nate when your blad­der is full. You may feel a quick pinch if a biop­sy is tak­en. After the cys­to­scope is removed, the ure­thra may be sore. You may have blood in the urine and a burn­ing sen­sa­tion dur­ing uri­na­tion for a day or two. Why the Test is Per­formed • Check for can­cer of the blad­der or ure­thra • Diag­nose and eval­u­ate uri­nary tract dis­or­ders • Diag­nose recur­rent blad­der infec­tions • Help deter­mine the cause of pain dur­ing urination