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Bladder Biopsy


A bladder biopsy

is a procedure used to take a sample of your bladder. The sample may be tested for cancer or other health problems. This procedure may be done during a cystoscopy. A cystoscopy is a procedure to look inside your urethra and bladder with a cystoscope. A cystoscope is a small tube with a light and camera on the end.

Kidney, Ureters, Bladder

How to prepare for a bladder biopsy:

  • Your healthcare provider will tell you how to prepare for this procedure. Tell your provider about all the medicines you currently take. You may need to stop taking medicines such as blood thinners, aspirin, and ibuprofen several days before your procedure. Contrast liquid may be used during this procedure. Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid or to anesthesia.
  • You may be told not to eat or drink anything for 8 hours before this procedure, or after midnight. Your provider will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of your procedure. You may be asked to drink a large amount of liquid before your procedure. Arrange for someone to drive you home after your procedure.

What will happen during a bladder biopsy:

  • You may be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and pain-free during your procedure. Your healthcare provider may instead use local anesthesia. You will not feel pain with local anesthesia, but you may be able to feel some pressure during your procedure.
  • If a cystoscope is used, it will be placed through your urethra and into your bladder. Your healthcare provider will look at the walls of your urethra as the scope goes through to your bladder. Your bladder will be filled with clear liquid so your healthcare provider can see the inside of your bladder more clearly. CT or ultrasound pictures may be used to help your provider find the right area for the biopsy. A needle or other tools will be guided into your bladder. Your provider will use these to take a sample of tissue. The sample will be sent to a lab for tests.

What will happen after a bladder biopsy:

  • You will need to rest after the procedure. Healthcare providers will help control your pain. They will also make sure you do not have large amounts of blood in your urine. Then you may be able to go home.
  • You may see small amounts of blood in your urine for a short time. This is normal. It is also normal to have an increased need to urinate or trouble urinating. You may also have burning or mild discomfort in your bladder or kidney area when you urinate. These problems should only last a day or two.
  • If you had general anesthesia, it may take at least 24 hours before you feel like your usual self. Do not drive or make important decisions for 24 hours.

Risks of a bladder biopsy:

You may develop a urinary tract infection (UTI) and need medicine to treat the infection. You may have pain when you urinate, or develop a blockage that keeps you from urinating. Your bladder may be damaged or rupture (break open) during the procedure. You may also bleed more than expected during the biopsy.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your urine turns from pink to red, or you have clots in your urine.
  • You cannot urinate and your bladder feels full.
  • You have severe pain.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever of 100.3°F (38°C) or higher.
  • Your pain or burning during urination becomes worse or lasts longer than 2 days.
  • Your urine stays pink for longer than 2 days.
  • You urinate less than usual, or still feel like you have to urinate after you use the bathroom.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


You may need any of the following:

  • Antibiotics help treat or prevent a bacterial infection.
  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines you are using to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly. Do not use more than 4 grams (4,000 milligrams) total of acetaminophen in one day.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.


  • Drink liquids as directed. Your healthcare provider may recommend that you drink 6 to 8 eight-ounce cups of water every day for 2 days after your procedure.
  • Apply a warm, damp washcloth over your urethral opening. This may help to relieve discomfort. Keep the washcloth in place for 10 to 15 minutes every hour, or as directed.
  • Ask when you can return to regular daily activities. Your healthcare provider may recommend that you rest after your procedure. Directions for returning to your regular activities may depend on why you had a bladder biopsy. Do not have sex until your healthcare provider tells you it is okay. Sex may increase your risk for a urinary tract infection.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

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