Video: What is a cystoscopy?

A cystoscopy is a procedure used to look inside the bladder and urethra. It helps doctors diagnose bladder cancer. During a cystoscopy, a thin flexible or rigid, lighted instrument called a cystoscope is inserted into the urethra. Tissue samples can be removed with the rigid cystoscope. Those samples can be removed and examined under a microscope to determine whether disease is present.

Some health care institutions offer enhanced cystoscopy. Using either a medication placed in the bladder to help tumors glow with a blue light cystoscope, or narrow band imaging helps your doctor to visualize the tumors better.

Download our free information sheet: “What is a Cystoscopy?

What is enhanced cystoscopy? 

Many doctors now have enhanced cystoscopy tools to help doctors see a difference between healthy tissue and cancer. They’re able to see bladder cancer tumors better at the time of bladder biopsy or TURBT (Trans Urethral Resection of a Bladder Tumor). It can help doctors find easily missed tumors. 

One method uses a special medicine your doctor places inside the bladder. Any cancer cells absorb the medicine. During cystoscopy, the urologist shines a special blue light on the bladder. With this blue light, the tumors that absorbed the medicine glow bright pink.

Bladder tumors tend to have an increased blood supply to feed them. The other enhanced cystoscopy method changes wavelengths of light from the cystoscope to find any areas with more blood vessels to better locate any tumors. 

Ask your doctor if they will used enhanced cystoscopy the next time they are checking your bladder or doing a TURBT. 

Learn more about bladder cancer by perusing our Glossary of Terms.