Flexible Cystoscopy (female)
This webpage will give you information about a flexible cystoscopy (for women). If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.
What is a flexible cystoscopy?
A flexible cystoscopy is a procedure to check for any problems in your bladder using a flexible fibre-optic telescope (cystoscope).
It may be recommended if you are getting blood in your urine, repeated infections or have an irritable bladder (a sudden and uncontrolled urge to pass urine).
Are there any alternatives to a flexible cystoscopy?
A scan may give some information about the cause of the problem. It is possible to have a rigid cystoscopy that allows your surgeon to treat certain problems. However, a rigid cystoscopy involves a general or spinal anaesthetic.
What does the procedure involve?
A flexible cystoscopy usually takes around five minutes. Your doctor will pass the cystoscope into your bladder through your urethra (see figure 1).
Figure 1 - Cross-section of the female pelvic region showing a flexible cystoscopy
They will use the cystoscope to look for any problems in the lining of your bladder. Your doctor will let you know if they need to perform a biopsy.
What complications can happen?
- Narrowing of the urethra
How soon will I recover?
You should be able to go home the same day, after you have passed urine. You should be able to go back to work the day after the cystoscopy unless you are told otherwise. A member of the team will tell you what was found during the cystoscopy and will discuss with you any treatment or follow-up you need.
A flexible cystoscopy is usually a safe and effective way of finding out if there is a problem with your bladder.
Author: Mr John Lemberger FRCS and Mr Scott Donnellan FRACS
Illustrations: Hannah Ravenscroft RM
This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.