Bladder Biopsy: About This Test

Skip Navigation
Location in male and female of the bladder and urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body)

What is a bladder biopsy?

A bladder biopsy is a test that allows a doctor to look at tissue from your bladder. The doctor removes a small sample of tissue from the lining of your bladder. Then another doctor looks at cells from the tissue under a microscope.

Why is it done?

A bladder biopsy is done to look for the cause of your symptoms. Symptoms may include blood in your urine, pain when you urinate, or needing to urinate often. This test is often done to check for cancer.

How do you prepare for the test?

  • Follow your doctor's instructions about drinking plenty of fluids before the test.
  • You may be asked to empty your bladder right before the test.
  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics or other medicines to take before the test, take them as directed.

How is the test done?

  • The test may be done in your doctor's office or in a hospital.
  • You will be kept comfortable and safe by your doctor or anesthesia provider. The anesthesia may make you sleep. Or it may just numb the area being worked on.
  • The doctor will put a thin, lighted tool into your urethra. This tool is called a cystoscope or scope. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.
  • The doctor will gently thread the scope into your bladder.
  • Your bladder will then be filled with fluid. This stretches the bladder so that your doctor can clearly see the inside of your bladder.
  • Your doctor will use small tools through the scope to take out a sample of tissue from your bladder.
  • Another doctor looks at the sample under a microscope.

How long does the test take?

The test will take about 30 minutes.

What happens after the test?

  • Your doctor will want to make sure you can urinate before you go home.
  • You may see some blood in your urine for a day or two.
  • Your doctor may prescribe medicine for pain or discomfort.
  • You will probably be able to go home the same day.
  • Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.