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Transurethral bladder biopsy is done to help find the cause of a bladder problem. It may also be done to help rule out bladder cancer. During the procedure, small tissue samples are taken from your bladder. The samples are then tested in a lab. This sheet explains how the procedure is done.
Prepare as you have been told. In addition:
Tell your doctor about all medications you take. This includes herbs and other supplements. It also includes any blood thinners, such as Coumadin, Plavix, or daily aspirin. You may need to stop taking some or all of them before surgery.
Do not eat or drink during the 8 hours before your surgery. This includes coffee, water, gum, and mints. (If you have been instructed to take medications, take them with a small sip of water.)
The procedure takes about 30-45 minutes. You’ll likely go home the same day.
An IV line is put into a vein in your arm or hand. This line supplies fluids and medications (such as antibiotics).
To keep you free of pain during the procedure, you’re given general anesthesia. This medication puts you into a state like deep sleep. Or you may be given spinal anesthesia. This medication numbs your body from the waist down. In some cases, local anesthesia is used. This medication numbs the area being treated.
A special tool called a cystoscope (scope) is used. The scope is a thin, lighted tube that looks like a telescope. The doctor inserts this through the urethra into the bladder.
Water is sent through the scope to fill the bladder. This stretches the bladder to give the doctor a better view.
A small surgical tool is passed through the scope into the bladder. Samples of tissue are then removed from the bladder. An electric tool may be used to stop any bleeding.
When the procedure is complete, all tools are removed and the bladder is drained.
A thin tube (Foley catheter) may be placed in your bladder to drain urine while the bladder heals.
You’ll be taken to a room to rest until the anesthesia wears off. If a breathing tube was used, your throat might be sore at first. You’ll be given medications to manage pain and prevent infection. After a few hours, you’ll be released to go home. Have an adult family member or friend ready to drive you.
Once you’re home, be as active as you comfortably can. Get up and walk around, but avoid exercise or heavy activities until you feel better. You can likely return to your normal routine in 1-2 days. If you go home with a catheter, care for it as directed. And follow any special instructions your doctor gave you.
Chest pain or trouble breathing (call 911 or other emergency service)
A fever of 100.4°F or higher
Pain that’s not controlled with medication
Trouble urinating or inability to urinate
Bloody urine for more than 48 hours
You’ll have a follow-up visit with your doctor in about 7 days. During this visit, your doctor will discuss the results of your biopsy. You and your doctor will also discuss any treatments that might be needed.
Damage to the bladder wall (may require temporary catheter drainage or further repair)
Narrowing (stricture) of the urethra
Risks of anesthesia (the anesthesiologist will discuss these with you)