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Virtual Cystoscopy


A virtual cystoscopy is a procedure that uses a CT or MRI to take pictures of the inside of your bladder. Dye may be used to help your healthcare provider see your bladder better.


Before your procedure:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
  • Tests:
    • Blood tests: You may need blood taken to give caregivers information about how your body is working. The blood may be taken from your hand, arm, or IV.
    • Urine sample: For this test you need to urinate into a small container. You will be given instructions on how to clean your genital area before you urinate. Do not touch the inside of the cup. Follow instructions on where to place the cup of urine when you are done.

During your procedure:

  • You will be taken to the area where your procedure will be done. Before the pictures of your bladder are taken, your healthcare provider may insert a Foley catheter. The catheter is a plastic tube that drains urine out of your bladder. The catheter may also be used to fill your bladder with air or carbon dioxide gas. Your healthcare provider may also give you a dye through your IV. The dye may be mixed with the urine in your bladder. The dye is used to help your healthcare provider see the inside of your bladder better. Tell healthcare providers if you are allergic to iodine or shellfish. You may also be allergic to the dye.
  • You will need to lie flat on your back and be very still while the pictures are being taken. Once the pictures are done, your healthcare provider may have you lie on your stomach to take more pictures. This helps healthcare providers see if you have a blood clot in your bladder. Your healthcare provider may also take pictures while you urinate if you have dye in your bladder. This will help your healthcare provider see if you have any problems with your urine passageway. If you have a catheter in place, your healthcare provider will remove it when the pictures are done.

After your procedure:

Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. Once healthcare providers see that you are okay, you may be able to go home. If you are staying in the hospital, you may then go back to your room.


  • You may get a urinary tract infection, blood clots, and have trouble urinating if a catheter is used. The dye used in the procedure may cause an allergic reaction. If you have kidney problems, the dye may damage your kidney. During the x-rays you will be exposed to radiation that may cause problems later in your life. Flat or small masses in your bladder may not be seen with this procedure. Your healthcare provider may also not see a mass that is in the wall of your bladder. If you have had other bladder surgeries or procedures, the results may not be accurate. With a virtual cystoscopy, your healthcare provider cannot take a tissue sample from your bladder for testing.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Virtual Cystoscopy (Inpatient Care)

Micromedex® Care Notes