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Rigid cystoscopy (bladder scope)

Private cystoscopy to investigate issues with your urethra and bladder

A urethroscope (bladder scope) used in a rigid cystoscopy procedure
A rigid cystoscopy is a minor procedure used to investigate, and in some cases treat, problems of the urethra and bladder. It involves inserting a tool called a rigid cystoscope into your urethra and into your bladder, allowing your consultant to examine the area in detail. The procedure is typically performed under local or general anaesthetic, and it takes about 15-30 minutes to complete.

If any abnormalities are found during the examination, a biopsy may be taken (meaning small pieces of tissue are removed). The cystoscope can also be used to treat certain issues.

If you are experiencing pain or discomfort during urination or have blood in your urine, you may need a rigid cystoscopy to investigate. Book a consultation today to discuss rigid cystoscopy and other treatment options with one of our urological specialists. Call or book online and you could have your initial consultation within 48 hours.

If you are experiencing issues related to your bladder, urethra or ureter, you may be referred for a rigid cystoscopy. Common symptoms that may lead to this procedure include:

  • Frequent or difficult urination
  • Pain or burning during urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections

Rigid cystoscopy can be used to help diagnose and treat various conditions, including:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Bladder stones
  • Blood in urine
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Frequent urinary tract infections
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Overactive bladder
  • Urinary incontinence

Your urologist will recommend rigid cystoscopy as a diagnostic or therapeutic tool for your specific condition. They will explain the procedure to you and what to expect before, during, and after the treatment.

Are there any alternatives to a rigid cystoscopy?

Certain scans can be used to investigate urinary symptoms, but if your consultant recommends a cystoscopy it means that this is the best chance of reaching a diagnosis.

There is another type of cystoscopy, called a flexible cystoscopy, that can also be used to investigate bladder and urinary problems. This procedure can be done using a topical anaesthetic. However, a flexible cystoscopy is a diagnostic tool and can't be used to treat problems in your urinary tract or to take biopsies.

During your initial consultation at Circle Health Group, we will conduct a thorough examination to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms. This will involve an in-depth review of your medical history, and often physical examination of the affected area.

We may need to perform additional tests or scans, such as blood or urine tests, x-rays or ultrasounds , to obtain a clear diagnosis. Once we have identified the root cause of your symptoms, we will discuss with you the different treatment options available.

Your first consultation is crucial to developing an effective treatment plan that is tailored to your unique needs. Our consultants take the time to listen to your concerns and answer any questions you may have, ensuring that you feel informed and confident in your treatment decisions.

At Circle Health Group, we pride ourselves on delivering personalised care to each of our patients. We understand that each case is unique and requires an approach tailored to you. Our team of specialists will work with you to develop a treatment plan that addresses your specific needs and goals.

A rigid cystoscopy starts from around £2,700.*

If you are paying for your own treatment, we will offer you a fixed-price package that includes the cost of your procedure and all appropriate aftercare appointments.

However, any pre-surgery diagnostic tests and your consultant's outpatient appointment consultation fee are charged separately.

Self-paying patients can take advantage of our flexible payment options. We offer fixed-term monthly payment plans over 10 months to five years with no deposit required.

*This is a guide price for patients who are paying for their own treatment. The actual cost of your treatment will be confirmed in writing at the time of booking.

During a rigid cystoscopy, a narrow tube with a light and camera (called a cystoscope) is inserted into your urethra to examine your bladder. The procedure usually takes about 15-20 minutes, but this can vary depending on the reason for the investigation.

A rigid cystoscopy can be done under local anaesthetic, where the urethra is numbed, or under general anaesthetic, where you will be asleep.

Your consultant will insert the cystoscope into your urethra and guide it up to your bladder. During the procedure, they may inject a sterile liquid into your bladder to inflate it, which can make it easier to see. They will look for any signs of problems, such as tumours, stones or inflammation. They may take a tissue sample (biopsy) for further examination.

Recovering from a rigid cystoscopy

After the procedure, you may experience some discomfort or bleeding when urinating. You should avoid sexual activity and strenuous exercise for a few days. Your consultant will provide specific instructions for your recovery.

If you have any concerns or questions about the treatment, your specialist will be happy to address them during your consultation.

Like any medical procedure, there are potential risks and complications associated with rigid cystoscopy treatment. These can include:

  • Bleeding: Some bleeding is common after the procedure, but excessive bleeding is rare
  • Urinary tract infections: Infection can occur in the bladder or urethra after the procedure, leading to fever, chills, and discomfort. Antibiotics can treat these infections
  • Perforation: In rare cases, the cystoscope can puncture the bladder or urethra, leading to the need for additional procedures or surgery
  • Urinary retention: Difficulty in urinating may be experienced after the procedure, and a catheter may need to be temporarily inserted to help the bladder empty

Your consultant will provide you with detailed information about the potential risks and complications of rigid cystoscopy treatment. They will go through the risks and benefits of the procedure with you and answer any questions you may have. You will have plenty of time to consider your options before deciding on the best course of action.

What is the difference between a flexible and rigid cystoscopy?

A flexible cystoscopy uses a small, flexible telescope that is passed through the urethra into the bladder. It is usually performed under local or topical anaesthetic, and patients can generally go home soon after the procedure. Rigid cystoscopy, on the other hand, uses a rigid telescope and is typically performed under general anaesthetic. It is more invasive and can be more painful, but the benefit is that rigid cystoscopy can provide a better view of the bladder and urethra, and that it can also be used to take biopsies and, in some cases, perform treatment.

Are antibiotics needed for rigid cystoscopy?

Antibiotics may be given to some patients before or after rigid cystoscopy treatment to prevent infection. Your consultant will evaluate your medical history and determine if antibiotics are necessary.

Can I have a rigid cystoscopy with psoriasis?

Yes, it is generally safe to undergo rigid cystoscopy if you have psoriasis. However, you should inform your consultant about your condition and any medications you are taking as it may impact the choice of anaesthetic.

Can I have sex after rigid cystoscopy?

It is recommended to avoid sexual activity for at least 24-48 hours after rigid cystoscopy treatment to allow your body to heal. Your consultant will advise you on the best course of action for your individual situation.

When you choose to go private with Circle Health Group, you can expect:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations to fit your routine
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant suit your needs
  • Personalised, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
  • Private ensuite rooms as standard and delicious healthy meals
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your care

If you would like to learn more about rigid cystoscopy treatment, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in March 2023. Next review due March 2026.

  1. Cystoscopy, NHS
  2. Rigid cystoscopy (male), Health Direct
  3. Cystoscopy Rigid Male, Ramsay Health Care
  4. Rigid Cystoscopy (female), St Hugh’s Hospital

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