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Definition  

A prostate biopsy is the removal of a small amount of tissue from the prostate gland. The tissue is examined to determine whether there is cancer.

Prostate Cancer  
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Reasons for Procedure  

A prostate biopsy is usually done after an abnormal finding by:

  • Digital rectal exam
  • Prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test

A prostate biopsy is the only way to find out if cancer cells are present.

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Possible Complications  

Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:

  • Infection
  • Bruising or lengthy bleeding from the rectum, or in urine or semen
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Reactions to anesthesia

Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Smoking
  • History of bleeding disorders or easy bruising
  • Use of any medications, over-the-counter medications, or herbal supplements
  • Sensitivity or allergy to latex, medications, or anesthesia
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What to Expect  

Prior to Procedure  

You may be asked to do the following:

  • Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure.
  • Begin taking an antibiotic.
  • Use an enema several hours before the procedure.
  • If you will be getting general anesthesia, do not eat or drink anything after midnight.

Anesthesia  

The type of anesthesia depends on the method that your doctor uses:

  • Transurethral biopsy and perineal biopsy:
    • General anesthesia—blocks pain and keeps you asleep through the surgery
    • Local anesthesia—just the area that is being operated on is numbed, given as an injection and may also be given with a sedative
  • Transrectal prostate biopsy—local anesthesia

Description of the Procedure  

Your doctor will use one of the following methods to do the biopsy:

  • Transrectal biopsy (most common method)—Your doctor will insert a small ultrasound device into the rectum. This device will produce sound waves to create an image of the prostate. These images will help guide placement of the needle. Your doctor will then insert the needle through the wall of your rectum and into the prostate gland.
  • Transurethral biopsy—Your doctor will insert a lighted flexible tube through the penis into the urethra. The urethra carries urine from the bladder. Your doctor will get the biopsy with a