Procedure, Preparation, Side Effects and Recovery of Bladder Biopsy

Submitted on March 27, 2012

A bladder biopsy is a medical procedure that is commonly used in the treatment of bladder cancer. The procedure involves the removal of a piece of the tissue of the bladder for detailed inspection of the progress of the cancer. The bladder is essentially a hollow organ located in the lower part of the abdomen and is responsible for the storage and expulsion of urine from the body. The muscular walls allow it to expand and contract voluntarily, thus supplying the force required to urinate. Before getting into the details of bladder biopsy, it helps to know of the factors that play a role in the development of the condition.

The risk factors associated with the development of bladder cancer include smoking, excessive exposure to substances such as rubber, certain dyes, paint, textiles and low quality hairdressing supplies. Age, gender and skin color such as being an elderly, fair skinned male also seem to increase the likelihood of suffering from the condition. As always, a person's diet also plays a significant role in determining the cause of cancer. A high intake of fried meat or fat is known to be one of the most significant contributors in the development of the cancer. Some of the most prominent symptoms indicating the presence of bladder cancer include the presence of blood in the urine, substantial lower back pain as well as pain during urination and also frequent urination.


The bladder biopsy procedure is carried out with the help of a cystoscope, which is a thin, long metallic device that is introduced into the body through the bladder. This is done after the patient is given either general or complete anesthesia. The cystoscope has a small camera at one end coupled with a light source and relays the images it captures from within the body onto a screen in front of the presiding doctor. This helps the doctor navigate and analyze the condition in real time. The cystoscope also has a few tiny medical instruments that can be operated to extract a piece of the damaged tissue to allow for analysis in a laboratory and help the doctor arrive at an informed diagnosis.


Preparation for the biopsy of bladder will require the patient to wear a hospital gown before the commencement of the medical procedure, while some would also be asked to provide a urine sample. In this case, it is important that the patient avoids urinating for a significant period of time so they are able to urinate as and when required during the test. Most patients will be allowed to eat and drink as well as return to their normal duties after the test has been completed.


Before getting into the details of bladder biopsy recovery, let us look at the reasons why a bladder biopsy might be conducted. One of the main reasons why a bladder biopsy may be recommended is to check if you have cancer of either the bladder or the urethra. Blood in the urine, incontinence, a urinary tract infection, bladder or kidney stones, pain or difficulty in urinating, symptoms of internal interstitial cystitis, symptoms of enlarged prostate and suspected tumors in the bladder are other reasons why a bladder biopsy may be recommended. A bladder biopsy is usually performed as part of a cystoscopy. The cystoscope is a lighted instrument (which is used to look at the bladder) and it is passed through the urethra to the bladder. Keep in mind that the time taken to recover from a biopsy depends on the type of biopsy that is carried out. Bladder biopsy recovery time is not fixed and could differ from person to person. After a bladder biopsy is carried out, patients are given certain guidelines which help to cut down bladder biopsy recovery time. These guidelines include resting and refraining from driving for a few days (especially if general anesthesia has been administered), taking warm baths to relieve the pain as well as postponing any sexual relations until advised by the doctor.

Avoiding strenuous exercise after a bladder biopsy will also help to shorten bladder biopsy recovery time.

Risks, Side Effects & CPT Code

Now that you know about bladder biopsy recovery, let us look at some of the bladder biopsy side effects. As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with a bladder biopsy as well. Bladder biopsy side effects include blood in the urine or having trouble urinating. This should clear up in a day or two. You might also develop a urinary tract infection after a bladder biopsy. Decreased urination caused by an infection or blockage in the urinary tract may occur after the biopsy as well.

Bladder biopsy interpretation will be carried out by the doctor concerned who will discuss the results with you. Results will only be available after several days since the sample has to be examined and tested.

Bladder biopsy risks include being unable to urinate, bleeding more than expected or what is normal, developing a fever, developing increasing pain with urination. There is also a small risk of the bladder being damaged or ruptured during a bladder biopsy. A bladder biopsy CPT code is 52000.