Cystoscopy, also called cystourethroscopy, is a procedure that is done to examine the lining of the urethra and bladder. It can be done by a urologist in an office setting or in an operating room. When performed in the office, a numbing gel is applied to the urethra to decrease discomfort. A small tube with a camera (cystoscope) is then inserted into the opening in the body where urine comes out (called the urethra). Then he or she advances the tube until it reaches the bladder. That way the doctor can look at the inside of the bladder to see if it is normal.
Using the cystoscope, the physician examines the lining of the bladder and urethra. If abnormal tissue is seen, a biopsy can be taken. Biopsies may be done in the office or in the operating room. The biopsy specimen[s] is examined with a microscope to determine if cancerous cells are present.