prostate gland biopsy is a test to remove small
samples of prostate tissue to be looked at under a microscope. The tissue samples
taken are looked at for cancer cells.
For a prostate biopsy, a
thin needle is inserted through the rectum (transrectal biopsy), through the urethra, or through the area between the anus
and scrotum (perineum). A transrectal biopsy is the most
common method used.
allergic to latex or any medicines, including anesthetics.
Be sure to
tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, even over-the-counter ones.
will be asked to sign a consent form that says you understand the risks of the test
and agree to have it done.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding
the need for the biopsy. Ask about its risks, how it will be done, and what the results
will mean. To help you understand the importance of the biopsy, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
gland biopsy does not cause problems with erections. It will not make you infertile.
this test is done under local anesthesia through the area between the
anus and scrotum (perineum), you don't have to do anything to prepare.
biopsy is done through the rectum, you may need to have an enema before the test.
If the biopsy is
done under general anesthesia, your doctor will tell you
how soon before surgery to stop eating and drinking. Follow the instructions exactly,
or your surgery may be canceled. If your doctor has instructed you to take your medicines
on the day of the surgery, please do so using only a sip of water.
A prostate biopsy is done by a doctor who specializes in men's genital
and urinary problems (urologist). It can be done in the doctor's office,
a day surgery clinic, or a hospital operating room.
Before your biopsy, you
may be given antibiotics to prevent infection. You may be
asked to take off all of your clothes and put on a hospital gown.
Through the rectum (transrectal biopsy)
Several positions are possible for
this method. You may be asked to kneel, lie on your side, or lie on your back with
your feet resting in stirrups. Your doctor may inject a local anesthetic around the
prostate gland before the sample is taken.
Transrectal ultrasound is often used
to guide the needle to the correct spot. A prostate biopsy is usually done with
a spring-loaded needle. The needle quickly enters the prostate gland and removes a
tissue sample. Between 6 and 12 samples are taken from different areas of the prostate.
biopsy can also be done with a needle guide attached to your doctor's finger. He or
she inserts the finger into your rectum. Then the needle slides along the guide, through
the wall of the rectum, and into the prostate gland. The needle is turned to collect
a tissue sample and then pulled out.
method, you will lie on your back. Your feet will rest in stirrups. General, spinal,
or local anesthesia may be used.
A lighted scope
(cystoscope) is inserted into your urethra. It
allows your doctor to look directly at the prostate gland. A cutting loop is passed
through the cystoscope to remove small pieces of prostate tissue.
of biopsy usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes.
the perineum (transperineal biopsy)
Transperineal biopsy is not done as often
as the other two types. You will lie on an exam table either on your side or on your
back with your knees bent. General or local anesthesia may be used.
at the biopsy site is cleaned with a sterile solution. The area around it is covered
with sterile cloth. Your doctor will wear gloves. It is very important that you do
not touch this area.
Transrectal ultrasound is generally used to guide the needle
to the correct spot.
A small cut is made in your perineum. Your doctor inserts
a finger into the rectum to hold the prostate gland. He or she will then insert the
needle through the cut and into the prostate gland. To collect a sample of tissue,
the needle is gently turned and then pulled out. Biopsy samples may be taken from
several areas of the prostate. Pressure is applied to stop the bleeding. A small bandage
is placed over the cut. The biopsy usually takes about 15 to 30 minutes.
You may feel a slight sting when you get a shot of medicine to numb
your skin. You may feel a dull pressure as the needle is inserted. For a transrectal
biopsy, you may feel pressure in the rectum while the ultrasound probe or guiding
finger is in place. You also may feel a brief, sharp pain as the needle is inserted
into the prostate gland. Usually several samples are collected.
After the biopsy,
you will be asked to avoid activity for about 4 hours. You may have mild pain in your
pelvic area and blood in your urine for up to 5 days. Also, you may have a change
in color of your semen for up to 1 month after the biopsy. If you had a transrectal
biopsy, you may have a small amount of bleeding from your rectum for 2 to 3 days after
If you have a transurethral biopsy, you may have a urinary catheter
in place for a few hours after the biopsy. You also may need to take an antibiotic
medicine for several days after the biopsy.
If you have a general anesthetic,
you will be in a recovery room for a few hours after the biopsy. You will need someone
to drive you home when you are released. When you get home, your muscles may ache.
You may feel tired for the rest of the day.
biopsy has a slight risk of causing problems such as:
Infection. This is
more common in men who have prostatitis. Usually, taking antibiotic medicine
before the test prevents an infection.
Bleeding into the urethra or bladder. This can cause a blood blister (hematoma).
Or you may be unable to urinate or need to urinate often.
Bleeding from the
rectum. If you have a transrectal biopsy, you may have a small amount of bleeding
from your rectum for 2 to 3 days.
Not all types of prostate cancer
are treated. There are many things to consider when deciding on a treatment plan.
To learn more, see the topic Prostate Cancer.
Other Works Consulted
Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests
and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.
Fischbach FT, Dunning
MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia:
Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Loeb S, Carter HB (2012). Early detection,
diagnosis, and staging of prostate cancer. In AJ Wein et al., eds., Campbell-Walsh
Urology, 10th ed., vol. 3, pp. 2763-2770. Philadelphia: Saunders.
Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis:
Scher HI, et al. (2015). Cancer of the prostate. In VT DeVita
Jr et al., eds., DeVita, Hellman, and Rosenberg's Cancer Principles and Practices
of Oncology, 10th ed., pp. 932-980. Philadelphia: Walters Kluwer.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary
Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal
Medicine Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Christopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology
This information does not replace the advice of a doctor.
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