Cystoscopy is the process of examining the interior of the bladder by means of a miniature camera, or "scope," which is inserted through the urethra and into the bladder.
What is Cystoscopy?
Cystoscopy is an important diagnostic tool. It allows the physician to detect the presence or absence of Hunners ulcers (or patches), which are present in 5-10% of IC patients, and glomerulations (or hemorrhages) in the bladder wall, which are present in 90% of IC patients.
It is also important to rule out either bladder stones or bladder cancer.
Cystoscopy can be performed under either local or general anesthesia, however general anesthesia is necessary for an accurate diagnosis of IC because it allows the bladder to be distended sufficiently to see the hemorrhages or ulcers on the bladder wall that might be missed if the procedure is done under local anesthesia in the doctors office.
The scope can also be fitted with instruments for obtaining biopsies of the bladder wall. While a biopsy is not necessary to the diagnosis of IC, it is useful in ruling out bladder carcinoma, and can be helpful in obtaining evidence of mast cell proliferation, which is present in certain cases of IC.