Cystoscopy Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything


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A cystoscopy is a medical procedure in which doctors examine the inside of your urinary bladder. They do this to check for cysts, lumps containing parasitic larvae or other unpleasant infections.

It's not easy to look at the inside of someone's bladder. It's done using an extremely small camera attached to the end of a piece of fibre-optic cable; this device is known as a cystoscope. The entire examination is carried out without any kind of surgery, generally under local anaesthetic.

The astute reader will have realised two things at this point:

  1. If you want to stick a camera inside someone's bladder, wired up with fibre-optic cable, there's only one way to shove it in there1.

  2. If you're only under local anaesthetic at the time, it means you get to watch.

The author has had a cystoscopy on two separate occasions. It isn't any nicer the second time.

1Well, technically there's a long way and a short way, but the long way doesn't bear thinking about. It should also be noted that as well as flexible cystoscopy there is rigid cystoscopy. You do need a general anaesthetic for this one as the surgeon uses a hollow metal tube (much like a piece of plumming from your central heating) to view the inside of the bladder.

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