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What is this?

Cystodistension is stretching of the bladder with fluid at the time of cystoscopy.

It is rarely performed, as its usefulness and beneficial effects have been questioned. Occasionally however, it can be helpful in temporary relief of certain bladder symptoms, but it is not a permanent solution.

Generally, it is reserved as a diagnostic procedure for certain bladder complaints.

How is the operation performed?

Under general anaesthetic, a cystoscopy is performed to inspect the bladder. The bladder is then filled with fluid to its maximum capacity, and left full for a few minutes. The cystoscopy is repeated to examine the bladder after it has been stretched. If abnormal areas are seen, these are biopsied at this time.

After the operation

Sometimes there is some bleeding from the bladder after it has been stretched, and a catheter needs to be inserted. If so, you will stay overnight. Otherwise, you should be able go home the same day, and you should be able to resume normal activities relatively quickly.

Potential side effects and complications

All procedures have the potential for side effects. Although these complications are well recognised, the majority of patients do not have problems after a procedure.

Risks of the anaesthetic need to be discussed with the anaesthetist who will be looking after you during the operation, and who will visit you beforehand. 

There are specific risks with this surgical procedure, and these will be discussed with you before your procedure. As a guide to complement that one-on-one discussion with your surgeon, these include:


  • A burning sensation and/or a small amount of blood in the urine for a short period afterwards


  • Insertion of a catheter because of bleeding from the bladder after it has stretched
  • Infection in the bladder requiring antibiotics


  • Temporary insertion of a catheter if you are unable to pass urine immediately after the cystodistension.

Very rare

  • Delayed bleeding requiring removal of clots or further surgery
  • Injury to the urethra causing delayed scar formation
  • Infection from the bladder causing sepsis

If you develop a fever, severe pain on passing urine, inability to pass urine or worsening bleeding, you should contact the practice immediately. If out of hours, please go to your nearest emergency department.

Please note that if you have another procedure performed in combination with a cystodistension, then there may be other potential complications associated with those procedures. This will be discussed with you before your operation.


This information is intended as an educational guide only, and is here to help you as an additional source of information, along with a consultation from your urologist. The information does not apply to all patients.

Not all potential complications are listed, and you must talk to your urologist about the complications specific to your situation.


Urology Affiliations

Contact Us

  • QE Specialist Centre,
    35 Woodville Road
    Woodville South,
    SA 5011
  • Tel: 8244 4105
  • Mobile: 0439 080 899
  • Fax: 8243 2766