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Prostate Ultrasound and Biopsy

Armen Hareyan's picture

Prostate ultrasound and biopsy is performed to evaluate abnormal results of a digital rectal exam or an elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA).

Prostate ultrasound is a procedure in which a probe about the size of a finger is inserted a short distance into the rectum. This probe produces harmless high-frequency sound waves, inaudible to the human ear, that bounce off the surface of the prostate. The sound waves are recorded and transformed into video or photographic images of the prostate gland.

The probe can provide images at different angles to help your doctor estimate the size of your prostate and detect any abnormal growths.

A prostate biopsy is a procedure in which a doctor uses ultrasound to guide a small needle through the rectum into areas of the prostate where abnormalities are detected. The needle is used to collect cells or tissue samples from these areas. Usually six to eight biopsies are taken to test various areas of the prostate. The tissue samples are then analyzed in a laboratory, to help physicians diagnose a variety of disorders and diseases in the prostate

What happens before the procedure?

Special conditions

Tell your doctor if you have a lung or heart condition, have any other diseases, or if you are allergic to any medicines.

Tell your doctor if you have an artificial heart valve or if you have ever been told you need to take antibiotics before a dental or surgical procedure. If you have any of these conditions, you will be given antibiotics to take before the biopsy.


Tell your primary doctor if you are taking Coumadin, Persantine or other blood thinners. These medicines will need to be discontinued about one week before the procedure. Your primary doctor may prescribe an alternate method for thinning your blood before the procedure.

The week before the procedure, do NOT take aspirin, products containing aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs (such as Advil/Motrin, Naprosyn or Indocin).

* Please note: Do not discontinue any medication without first consulting with your primary or referring physician.

You will receive antibiotics to take the night before the procedure or the morning of the procedure to prevent infection.

Eating and drinking

Eat a light breakfast or lunch before the procedure and drink only clear liquids (which include juices, broths and gelatin) the morning of the procedure.


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You will receive one enema before the procedure to empty your rectum. You may be asked to use the enema at home. Try to hold the enema solution for at least five minutes before releasing it.

What happens on the day of the procedure?

A doctor or nurse will explain the procedure in detail, including possible complications and side effects. You will also be able to ask questions.

What happens during the procedure?

The procedure is performed by a doctor experienced in prostate ultrasound and biopsy. It will last 10 to 20 minutes.

You will lie on your left side, with your knees drawn up.

The ultrasound probe is inserted into the rectum and the biopsies are taken. You may feel minor discomfort as the biopsies are being taken.

What happens after the procedure?

The biopsy will be sent to a lab for analysis. Your doctor will discuss the results with you when they are available (usually within one week after the biopsy).

You may resume your normal diet and activities.

For at least three days after the procedure, do NOT take aspirin, products containing aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen, Naprosyn or Indocin).

Drink six to eight glasses of water every day for three days after the procedure to help flush your urinary system.

You may notice a small amount of blood in your urine, semen or stool up to seven days after the procedure. This is normal.

If you experience rectal soreness, soak in a warm bath for 20 minutes to relieve discomfort.

If an antibiotic was prescribed, take it until all of it is gone. If you miss a dose, take it when you remember and then maintain your regular schedule.

When should I call my doctor?

Call the nearest emergency department if:

  • You have a fever above 100 degrees F (38 C)
  • You have difficulty urinating
  • Your urine becomes bloody and does not clear after drinking extra fluids
  • A blood clot forms in your urine