Getting a Prostate Biopsy

What to Expect Before, During & After the Procedure

When there is a sudden increase in your prostate-specific antigen or PSA and your family’s medical history includes cancer, your doctor may recommend that you get a prostate biopsy. This may seem like a frightening proposal to any men, but getting a prostate biopsy is essential in determining your overall health and can even save your life in the long run.

Prostate biopsy is actually an easy outpatient procedure that only takes 15 to 30 minutes. The methods used are safe and do not cause problems with erections and fertility. For the duration of the process, you will be under local or general anesthesia so you won’t even feel a thing. After your prostate biopsy, you can walk out of the clinic or as if nothing happened and the rest is up to the doctors who will give you the results in about 10 days.

Typically doctors will prescribe an antibiotic to prevent infection. The antibiotic should be taken the day before the procedure and continued for 3-5 days.

Types of Procedures

During a prostate biopsy, the doctor uses a thin needle to remove small samples of prostate tissue. The doctor will then examine this under a microscope and look for abnormalities including cancer cells.

There are three ways to do the procedure:

  • Transrectal method – The most common type where tissues are removed through the rectum.
  • Perineal method – This is done through the skin between the scrotum and rectum.
  • Transurethral method – Prostate tissues are removed through the urethra using a cystoscope.

The choice of procedure may vary depending on your condition and your health care provider, but all three procedures are safe, fast, and with little to no pain.

Risks & Side Effects

While the majority of men who undergo prostate biopsy experience few to no significant side effects, some report minor problems after the procedure.

Here are some of the reported side effects from the procedure:

  • Slight soreness from your rectum
  • Light bleeding
  • Blood in your urine, stools, or semen for a few days
  • Fever
  • Infection

Recovery depends on the type of anesthesia that was used. If local anesthesia was used for your procedure, you may resume your normal activities. If general anesthesia was used, you may need someone to take you home and wait for at least four hours to go back to your normal routine.

Prostate biopsy can be less frightening if you keep in mind that the procedure only takes half an hour and getting one is your first step to taking charge of your prostate health.

This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not medical advice and should not be treated as such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis of a physician. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.