A prostate biopsy is a type of test. A doctor takes small tissue samples from your prostate gland. Then another doctor looks at the tissue under a microscope to see if there are cancer cells, signs of infection, or other problems.
You may need a biopsy if your doctor found something abnormal during a digital rectal examination. Or you may need it if a blood test showed a high level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA). A biopsy can help find out why your PSA level is high. It can also tell if you have prostate cancer.
You will get anesthesia to help numb the prostate. The test takes 15 to 45 minutes and can be done a few different ways. In most cases, the doctor puts a needle through your rectum. This is the fastest and least painful way to get the sample. In other cases, the doctor puts a needle through the urethra. (The urethra is the tube that carries urine out of the body.) Rarely, the needle is put in the area between the anus and scrotum.
The doctor may use ultrasound to help place the needle. During an ultrasound, the doctor puts a small device in your rectum that bounces sound waves off the prostate gland. The pattern of the sound waves creates a picture. This picture helps the doctor find the right spot to put the needle.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of:
July 26, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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