This page will give you information about a rigid cystoscopy (for women). If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.
What is a rigid cystoscopy?
A rigid cystoscopy is a procedure to check for any problems in your bladder using a rigid telescope (cystoscope). Sometimes certain problems with your bladder and urinary tubes can be treated at the same time.
What are the benefits of a rigid cystoscopy?
You may be getting pain, blood in your urine or repeated infections, or you may have an irritable bladder (a sudden and uncontrolled urge to pass urine).
If your doctor does see a problem during the cystoscopy, they may perform a biopsy (removing small pieces of tissue), or they may be able to treat the problem using the cystoscope.
Are there any alternatives to a rigid cystoscopy?
A scan may give some information about the cause of the problem but a cystoscopy often leads to a diagnosis.
It is possible to have a flexible cystoscopy that needs only an anaesthetic jelly. However, certain problems with your bladder and urinary tubes cannot be treated with a flexible cystoscopy.
What does the procedure involve?
Your doctor will pass the cystoscope into your urethra (tube that carries urine from your bladder).
Your doctor will use the cystoscope to look for any problems in the lining of your bladder and will be able to perform biopsies. If your doctor finds a small growth or stone, it may be possible to remove it through the cystoscope.
What complications can happen?
Some of these can be serious and can even cause death.
Rigid cystoscopy complications
- narrowing of your urethra
- allergic reaction
- making a hole in your bladder
How soon will I recover?
You should be able to go home the same day, after you have recovered from the anaesthetic and passed urine.
You should be able to return to work the day after the cystoscopy unless you are told otherwise.
Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.
The healthcare team will tell you what was found during the cystoscopy and discuss with you any treatment or follow-up you need.
A rigid cystoscopy is usually a safe and effective way of finding out if there is a problem with your bladder.
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Last reviewed: September 2019