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Cystoscopy Under General Anaesthetic

Why is this performed?

Rigid cystoscopy is a short procedure, performed under general anaesthetic, which allows visual inspection of the urethra and bladder. It is performed for the following reasons:

  • To help diagnose the cause of your problems, for example:
    • the cause of urinary tract infections
    • the cause of unexplained waterworks symptoms
    • the cause of urinary tract infections
  • To remove a ureteric stent
  • For follow-up if you have had previous bladder problems such as bladder tumours
  • To examine the urethra and/or prostate if further surgery on the lower urinary tract is planned

Cystoscopy is the first stage of a number of other urological operations, for example ureteroscopy, TURP, bladder neck incision or retrograde x-ray examination.

Other procedures, such as biopsy of the bladder, may be performed at the same as cystoscopy if an abnormality is seen.

How is this performed?

Most cases take only a short time. After you have been anaesthetised, a telescope is passed into the urethra and bladder to allow direct visualisation. The bladder is filled with fluid, to stretch it and allow full inspection of its entire lining.

After the procedure

Most cases are performed as day case, with the occasional patient needing an overnight stay if there are other medical reasons they should not go home the same day.

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 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


  • Infection in the bladder requiring antibiotics


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

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 cystoscopy, 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