Find information on how we’re keeping you safe from COVID-19 here

To top

What is a bladder biopsy?

The purpose of a bladder biopsy is to remove small pieces of cell or tissue from the bladder, which are then tested under a microscope in a laboratory.

During the procedure your doctor will insert a small tube with a camera on the end into the urethra, otherwise known as cystoscopy. The tissue collected is sent to the lab to be tested if:

  • A tumor is seen during the exam.
  • Abnormalities of the bladder are found during the exam

A bladder biopsy usually takes 15-30 minutes.

Will it hurt?

During the procedure, you may feel some discomfort or urge to urinate when the bladder is filled during the biopsy. Any discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.

Why is a bladder biopsy performed?

Usually, a bladder biopsy is performed to check for cancer of the bladder or urethra. The symptoms of bladder cancer typically are:

  • painful urination
  • frequent urination
  • blood in the urine
  • lower back pain

These symptoms can be an indication of something less sinister than cancer, such as an infection. Equally your biopsy might not may indicate something other than cancer, such as a cysts, ulcers. bladder diverticula, or balloon-like growths on the bladder. Therefore, a bladder biopsy is only performed if your doctor strongly suspects cancer and has for example, found cancer through other tests.

Before a bladder biopsy, your doctor will carry out some other routine tests such as a test for your urine and some imaging tests, such as an X-ray or CT scan, before the procedure. Because these scans and tests alone cannot determine whether the growth is a cancerous growth,  a bladder biopsy. reviewed in a laboratory, is necessary.

What are the risks and side effects of a bladder biopsy?

Like all medical procedures that involve removing tissue, a bladder biopsy carried the potential side effects of bleeding and infection, such as urinary tract infection.

  • Typically after a bladder biopsy, you may have blood or blood clots in your urine. This may last for two or three days. You can help this to be flushes out your system by drinking plenty of water and fluids.
  • A burning sensation when you urinate. This is treated with over-the-counter (OTC) pain relief medicines.