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Flexible cystoscopy

A flexible cystoscopy is a procedure, performed under local anaesthetic, that allows your doctor to look at the interior lining of the bladder and the urethra (tube draining the urine to the outside) using a thin flexible tube with a tiny camera attached. 

Why is a flexible cystoscopy performed?

The procedure is carried out in order to obtain a diagnosis for patients with symptoms such as recurrent infection, pain, bleeding, difficult or frequent urination and incontinence. It is also used to evaluate patients with bladder cancer, an enlarged prostate or urethral stricture disease.  We can also remove a stent from your ureter (the tube between your kidney and bladder) using this technique. 

Flexible cystoscopy is usually carried out as a day procedure. Admission to hospital overnight is not normally required, but may be necessary if further procedures are needed.

What preparation is required?

Be prepared to provide a fresh urine sample on the day of your procedure, after you are admitted. Your urine is tested for any infection. If you have an infection your procedure may be delayed or rescheduled.

Before your surgery:

  • If requested please attend a urine test 10 – 14 days prior to your appointment.
  • Please confirm your booking five days prior to your procedure. Phone: 07 3163 8444 and select option 2 (Monday to Friday, 8.30 am to 4 pm).

On the day of your surgery:

  • Please shower or bathe at home and put on clean clothes.
  • You can eat and drink normally.
  • Please continue to take all medications as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Discuss with your doctor if you are or might be pregnant.

What to bring​

On the day of your surgery please bring:

  • Medicare Card and any pension cards
  • Completed registration form.
  • All medications due for the day of your procedure

Please do not bring any valuables or wear any jewellery when you come to hospital. It is important to inform your nurse if you are feeling unwell or have had a recent urinary tract infection.

What to expect during your cystoscopy

  • A local anaesthetic gel is instilled into the urethra to help make the test as comfortable as possible. This can be associated with several seconds of mild discomfort.
  • The flexible cystoscope is inserted into your urethra and passed into your bladder.
  • Once the cystoscope is in place your bladder will be emptied and partly filled with sterile water.  
  • This allows the doctor to fully inspect all of the bladder lining.
  • This may make you feel that you need to pass urine.  This is a normal sensation and after the procedure you will be able to empty your bladder.
  • The procedure usually takes no more than 5 minutes to complete.
  • Once your doctor has completed the examination the cystoscope will be removed gently.
  • Your doctor will discuss the findings of the examination with you at the time of procedure.
  • You will be able to pass urine and dress yourself after the procedure.
  • The procedure is generally done as a day procedure, so you will be able to go home straight afterwards.

After your procedure

You may feel some stinging or burning and have blood stained urine for 1 - 3 days.   As with any procedure, there is also a risk of infection.  The risk of infection is low post flexible cystoscopy but occurs in 1 – 2 % of patients.  You may require further treatment if this occurs and you should notify your GP or our Urology Department in this event. Drinking plenty of water afterwards can help minimise both the chance of infection and these symptoms.

A follow up appointment may be made for you to discuss any further treatment.  Please check if this is required prior to discharge.  

Please contact either your General Practitioner (GP) or your local Emergency Department, if you experience any of the following after your procedure:

  • Fever, chills or sweats
  • Worsening pain or discomfort on urination


It is important to note that your arrival time is NOT your procedure time. Your arrival time allows time for admission and appropriate preparation prior to your procedure. Once admitted, your nurse can give you an approximate time of your procedure. Please also be aware that there can be waiting times due to emergencies and unforeseen delays. You may be in the unit approximately three to four hours.



Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-420117
Last modified 25/11/2022.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 01/2/2019
For further translated health information, you can visit healthtranslations.vic.gov.au/ supported by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services that offers a range of patient information in multiple languages.
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