If a patient has an elevated prostate specific antigen (PSA) or if the prostate feels abnormal on digital rectal exam, a prostate biopsy may be recommended to determine if prostate cancer is present. During the procedure, a slim ultrasound probe is placed into the rectum and the prostate is visualized for any abnormal areas and the size of the prostate is measure. Next, a local anesthetic is administered to the prostate nerves. Once the prostate is numb, 12 needle biopsies are taken and sent to the pathologist to evaluate and determine if any cancer is present.
The procedure takes about 5-10 minutes and is generally well tolerated. Prior to the biopsy, an enema is given to clean out the rectum of stool and three days of antibiotics are given starting the day before the biopsy. After a biopsy, it is normal to have some blood in the urine, stool, or semen for several days but if there is significant bleeding or a fever after the procedure, it is important to call your doctor. After the biopsy, the patient usually returns in one week to discuss the results.