Looking inside the bladder
is the only way of making sure your bladder is healthy.
No scan from outside the bladder
will let you know what's going on inside the bladder,
and that's why a cystoscopy is vital in those situations.
There are many reasons for looking inside the bladder.
One of the commonest reasons is when someone has bleeding in the water.
That can be a trace of blood, not visible to the naked eye,
or you actually see bleeding.
Usually in those situations,
we do the flexible cystoscopy, under local anaesthetic,
purely just to make the diagnosis, to see what's going on.
Occasionally, we do cystoscopies for other reasons,
such as recurrent infections,
or if there is any other abnormality in the lower urinary tract,
so something in the bladder or the prostate area.
There are two ways of doing it.
The first way is under local anaesthetic with a soft, flexible camera.
The alternative is when you're asleep with a rigid camera,
for which you need a general or a spinal anaesthetic.
With the flexible cystoscopy,
it's usually just a look-see, as a diagnosis.
You can't do much down the camera.
That's why it's easy to do while you're awake
and doesn't involve too much of a stay in hospital.
With the rigid cystoscopy, under anaesthetic,
we'll slip a camera up the water pipe into the bladder
and inspect the inside of the bladder.
Whatever we find, we'll be able to either treat or take biopsies of,
or make a plan for future treatment.
The endoscopy and the biopsies are usually just a fact-finding mission
to work out exactly what's going on.
Then, once we've got the results,
we'll be able to discuss what the long-term plan will be.
That'll be in combination between you and your doctor
once all the results have been obtained from the pathologist.
You may also need some other x-rays doing, as well,
but they'll be discussed in detail at the time of the procedure.