What is a cystoscopy?

A cystoscopy (say: siss-TOSS-co-pee) is a test to help diagnose bladder problems. It uses a thin tube with a tiny camera at the end. The doctor uses this device to look at the inside of your child's bladder.

A cystoscopy takes about one hour

Your child will have a general anesthetic or "sleep medicine." This means that your child will be asleep during the cystoscopy. In some hospitals, a surgical day care unit will prepare your child for the procedure and take care of your child when it is over.

The cystoscopy will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

When your child is asleep, the doctor threads a thin tube into your child's urethra. The urethra is the tube that takes urine (pee) from your child's bladder to the outside of the body. The doctor uses the camera on the end of the tube to look at the inside of your child's bladder.

After the cystoscopy, your child will spend about 1 hour in the Post-Anesthetic Care Unit or recovery room. Then your child will go back to the surgical day care unit. Your child can go home as soon as he or she is fully awake and can drink some fluids. This usually happens 30 minutes to 1 hour after your child goes back to the surgical day care unit.

The doctor will talk to you about the test and what was learned.

Your child should drink plenty of fluids

Your child should drink plenty of fluids (liquids) at the hospital. When you get home, keep encouraging your child to drink. This will help empty your child's bladder and flush the urethra. It will also help prevent infection and prevent blood clots from forming.

Your child's urine may be a little pink in colour for the first day or so after the cystoscopy. This is normal.

If there is a lot of bleeding, especially fresh blood or blood clots, call the Urology Clinic right away.  

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Managing your child's pain

Your child may have some general discomfort from the test and the anesthetic for up to 3 days after the procedure.

Your child may feel sore the first few times he or she urinates (pees) after the cystoscopy. Your child should feel less sore as the day goes on. Sometimes, children are more comfortable if you put them in a warm bath and let them urinate.

Your child can also take acetaminophen​ (Tylenol) to help relieve the pain. Follow the instructions on the bottle. Ask your nurse or pharmacist if you are not sure how to give your child the medicine.

Problems that need medical care

Call your doctor in these cases:

  • If your child's urine is not clear within 1 or 2 days.
  • If your child is bleeding, especially if you see fresh blood or blood clots.
  • If your child's pain on urination does not get better or if it gets worse.
  • If your child cannot urinate.

If your child has any of these problems or if you have other questions about the cystoscopy, please contact your child's urologist or call the Urology Unit at your hospital.

Dalia Bozic, RN, BScN

Cathy Daniels, RN, MS, ACNP


At SickKids:

Supporting your child

When preparing your child for an operation, the urology team recommends that whenever possible, your child and family members attend the Pre-Admission Program offered at Sick Kids. For more information call 416-813-6150 or visit the website at

A Child Life Specialist can also help to prepare and support your child if he or she is anxious about the operation. 

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