Is a Bladder Biopsy?
A bladder biopsy is a diagnostic surgical procedure in which a
doctor removes cells or tissue from your bladder to be tested in a laboratory. This
typically involves inserting a needle into the urethra, which is the opening in
your body through which urine is expelled.
a Bladder Biopsy Is Done
Your doctor will likely recommend a bladder biopsy if they
suspect your symptoms might be caused by bladder cancer. The symptoms of
bladder cancer include:
- blood in the urine
- frequent urination
- painful urination
- lower back pain
You’ll have some imaging tests, such as an X-ray or CT scan,
before the procedure. These tests will help your doctor determine if there’s a
growth on your bladder. The scans cannot tell if the growth is cancerous. That
can only be determined when your biopsy sample is reviewed in a laboratory.
Risks of a Bladder Biopsy
All medical procedures that involve removing tissue put you at
risk for bleeding and infection. A bladder biopsy is no different.
After your bladder biopsy, you may have blood or blood clots in
your urine. This typically lasts for two or three days following the procedure.
Drinking plenty of fluids will help flush these out.
You may also experience a burning sensation when you urinate.
This is best treated with over-the-counter (OTC) pain relief medicines. Your
doctor may prescribe stronger painkillers if you need them.
to Prepare for a Bladder Biopsy
Before your biopsy, your doctor will perform a medical history
and physical examination. During this time, inform your doctor of any medicines
you are taking, including OTC drugs, prescription medications, and supplements.
Your doctor may instruct you to avoid liquids for a certain amount
of time before your procedure. Be sure to follow these instructions and any
others your doctor gives you.
When you arrive for your biopsy, you’ll change into a hospital
gown. Your doctor will also ask you to urinate before the procedure.
a Bladder Biopsy Is Performed
The procedure typically lasts about 15 to 30 minutes. You can
have the biopsy in your doctor’s office or a hospital.
First, you’ll be seated in a special chair that puts you in a
reclined position. Your doctor will clean and numb your urethra using a topical
painkiller, or a numbing cream.
During the procedure, your doctor will use a cystoscope. This is
a small tube with a camera that’s inserted into your urethra. In men, the
urethra is at the tip of the penis. In women, it’s located just above the
Water or a saline solution will flow through the cystoscope to
fill your bladder. You may feel the need to urinate. This is normal. Your
doctor will ask you about the feelings you’re having. This helps determine the
cause of your symptoms.
Once your doctor inflates your bladder with water or a saline
solution, they can inspect the bladder wall. During this inspection, your
doctor will use a special tool on the cystoscope to remove a small part of the
bladder wall to be tested. This may cause a slight pinching feeling.
You may also have a slight amount of pain when the tool is
Up After a Bladder Biopsy
It usually takes a few days for the results to be ready.
Afterward, your doctor will want to discuss your test results with you.
Your doctor will be looking for cancer cells in the biopsy sample.
If you have bladder cancer, the biopsy helps determine two things:
- invasiveness, which
is how deeply the cancer has progressed into the bladder wall
which is how closely the cancer cells look like bladder cells
Low-grade cancer is easier to treat than high-grade cancer, which
occurs when the cells have reached the point where they no longer look like
The number of cancer cells and the extent of their presence in
your body will help determine the stage of cancer. You may need other tests to
help your doctor confirm the biopsy’s finding.
When your doctor knows the grade and invasiveness of your cancer,
they can better plan for your treatment.
Remember, not all abnormalities in the bladder are cancerous. If
your biopsy doesn’t show cancer, it can help determine if another complication
is causing your symptoms, such as:
- an infection
- bladder diverticula, or balloon-like growths on
Call your doctor if you have blood in your urine after three
days. You should also call your doctor if you have:
- a burning sensation when you urinate after the
- a fever
- cloudy urine
- foul-smelling urine
- large blood clots in your urine
- new pains in your lower back or hip
You shouldn’t have sex for two weeks after your biopsy. Drink
plenty of fluids, and avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activity for 24 hours
after the procedure.