Overactive Bladder Information
Test & Diagnosis
Cystoscopy and Ureteroscopy
When you have a urinary problem, your doctor may use a cystoscope to see inside your bladder and urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. The cystoscope has lenses like a telescope or microscope. These lenses let the doctor focus on the inner surfaces of the urinary tract. Some cystoscopes use optical fibers (flexible glass fibers) that carry an image from the tip of the instrument to a viewing piece at the other end. The cystoscope is as thin as a pencil and has a light at the tip. Many cystoscopes have extra tubes to guide other instruments for procedures to treat urinary problems.
Your doctor may recommend cystoscopy for any of the following conditions:
frequent urinary tract infections
blood in your urine (hematuria)
loss of bladder control (incontinence) or overactive bladder
unusual cells found in urine sample
need for a bladder catheter
painful urination, chronic pelvic pain, or interstitial cystitis
urinary blockage such as prostate enlargement, stricture, or narrowing of the urinary tract
stone in the urinary tract
unusual growth, polyp, tumor, or cancer
If you have a stone lodged in your ureter or have an area that needs more study in your ureter, your doctor may recommend a ureteroscopy, usually with general or regional anesthesia. The ureter is the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder. The ureteroscope is a special, very thin instrument used to look directly at and visualize the inside of the ureter. Some ureteroscopes are flexible like a small, very long straw. Others are more rigid and firm. Through the ureteroscope, the doctor can see the stone. The doctor can then move the stone, either by removing it with a small basket at the end of a wire inserted through an extra tube in the ureteroscope or by extending a flexible fiber that carries a laser beam to break the stone into smaller pieces that can then pass out of the body in your urine. How and what the doctor will do is determined by the location, size, and composition of the stone. The doctor may leave a stent, a flexible tube that keeps the ureter open for drainage after the procedure.
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