Cystoscopy is a procedure in which either a rigid metal scope, or flexible metal and plastic fiber optic scope is inserted along the urethra, into the bladder.  This is typically conducted in an office setting with local anesthetic applied to the urethra beforehand.  Alternatively, the procedure may be combined with biopsy or some form of treatment such as resection or burning (fulguration) or biopsy in a more formal outpatient or inpatient operating room.

Risks of this procedure are low but include bleeding, perforation of the urethra or bladder, infection, stricture formation of the urethra, and pain.

Occasionally, a drainage catheter may be left after cystoscopy if there is specific findings or post procedure in order to facilitate drainage of the bladder temporarily.

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