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Why do I need a biopsy?

Based on your Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) levels and/or rectal exam, your physician has recommended a biopsy of your prostate. It is important to know that although a biopsy has been suggested, this does not necessarily mean that you have cancer. PSA is a screening tool, and as such implies that additional investigation is needed. PSA is often elevated in benign conditions such as prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) or simply having an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hypertrophy or BPH) that produces more PSA as the prostate grows with age. A biopsy may be one of the more definitive ways to distinguish these conditions.

Nearly 250,000 men in the United States are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year, with approximately 1 in 7 men over the age of 60 having a chance of this diagnosis. It is important to understand that with early detection and diagnosis, you can potentially have the greatest chance of a cure. An early diagnosis also gives people the greatest number of options for successful treatment and preservation of quality of life.

Where is it done?

The biopsy is usually performed in the urologist’s office, but can be performed in an outpatient surgery center if sedation is required. The entire procedure usually lasts less than 15 minutes. We require that you have a friend or spouse drive you home.

How is it done?

Prostate ultrasonography uses a probe which is inserted into the rectum the same way a finger is used to examine the prostate. The ultrasound probe uses sound waves to take a detailed picture of the size and shape of the prostate. Then, a lidocaine local anesthetic will be injected into the area around the prostate. The ultrasound is then used to guide the prostate biopsies.

Does it hurt?

Most patients say that although the procedure is slightly uncomfortable, it is certainly tolerable. The main discomfort is from the ultrasound probe, and not the biopsy itself.

What symptoms may I expect after the biopsy?

Small amounts of blood in the urine or bowel movements are typical for 2-3 days after the biopsy, sometimes a few days longer. Small amounts of blood or discoloration of the ejaculate are common upwards of a month after the biopsy.

When should I receive my results?

Usually within a week. It is recommended that you bring a close friend or spouse to this follow up visit.

How much time off do I need to take?

It is suggested to take the day off on the day of the biopsy. Most people can return to normal activity the following day, although heavy lifting and strenuous activity should be limited for a few days after the biopsy.