Patient Information

Cystoscopy + Hydrodistension

What is a cystoscopy and hydrodistension?

A cystoscopy is a procedure where a telescope is used to inspect the urethra (water-pipe), the prostate (in men), and the bladder. A very clear and magnified view can be achieved.

If indicated, biopsies can be taken and cautery used to minimise bleeding. Either a general anaesthetic or a spinal anaesthetic can be used. It may be a day procedure or possibly an overnight stay. If more extensive biopsies are required, then a catheter may be inserted to aid bladder drainage and comfort after the procedure.

A hydrodistension is when an assessment of bladder capacity is made, the bladder is filled with water to a pressure of 80cm H20. This will hopefully lead to an improvement in pain and bladder capacity which is assessed again after the hydrodistension.

Preparing for your procedure

We will provide you with instructions regarding all aspects of preparing for your operation.

  • Pre-operative blood and urine tests.
  • Details of admission to hospital.
  • Information regarding fasting and medications.

What to expect afterwards

You are usually able to eat and drink what you feel like after the surgery. You will be encouraged to maintain a good fluid intake. Pain relief is always available, however, it is not usual to have significant pain after this procedure. You will most likely experience irritation and have a frequent need to urinate afterwards. There will most likely be some blood in the urine which should settle within a few days.

If you have a catheter it will be attached to a bag and drain urine from the bladder. You may have fluid bags attached and fluid irrigating slowly through to help prevent blood clots forming in the bladder. The catheter will usually be removed the following day. A combination of the surgery and the catheter can cause bladder irritation and sometimes bladder spasm.

After removal of the catheter there will most likely still be some blood in the urine. Once we can see that you are passing urine satisfactorily then you are able to go home.

You will be given pain relief if required and antibiotics if necessary to take home with you.


This is generally a very safe procedure with a low risk of complications.

  • The chance of infection is <5%.
  • Significant bleeding requiring readmission to hospital or blood transfusion is <5%.
  • The chance of an injury or perforation of the bladder is <1%.

After discharge from hospital

You should drink extra fluid over the first week or two after surgery. Drinking 1500mL-2000mL per day is usually satisfactory. Do not drink excessively. Aim to keep your urine pale yellow or straw colour. If you find your urinary symptoms are not improving or become worse then you could have an infection. Either contact our office or see your GP to organise a urine test.

If you do notice an increased amount of blood in the urine, then drink extra water to dilute the urine. Occasionally there is more excessive bleeding, and maybe clots in the urine that make it difficult to pass. If this occurs then please contact our office, contact your GP or present to a hospital emergency department for assessment.

You should be able to recommence most of your usual activities shortly after surgery. Please avoid heavy lifting or straining until bleeding settles. Sexual activity can be recommenced once the bleeding settles.


You should not drive for at least 24 hours after having sedation/ anaesthetic (or as instructed by your Urologist).

Patients who are travelling outside the metropolitan area are required to check when they are able to travel, and will be required to stay in the metropolitan area for 24 hours (or as instructed by your Urologist).

Emergency Contacts

In the event of an emergency, call our office within business hours and speak to our Practice Nurse.  If out of hours, please call our office to contact our On-Call Urologist, or present to your nearest Emergency Department.

Royal Darwin Hospital

Rocklands Drive, Tiwi NT 0810 8922 8888 24 Hours

**For patient’s outside the Metropolitan area, please present to your nearest hospital emergency department.

Follow up

A post operative appointment will usually be made for you prior to your procedure. Please ask your urologist, or contact our rooms to ensure arrangements are in place. If you have travelled from the country for your procedure, then a phone call or telehealth may be arranged for review.

If you have any concerns after your procedure, then please contact our office and speak to one of the practice nurses.

The content provided within this document is intended as a guide only and does not apply to all patients. Additional information, including patient specific potential risks, must be obtained during consultation with your Urologist.