What you can expect

Types of prostate biopsy procedures

Prostate biopsy samples can be collected in different ways. Your prostate biopsy may involve:

  • Passing the needle through the wall of the rectum (transrectal biopsy). This is the most common way of performing a prostate biopsy.
  • Inserting the needle through the area of skin between the anus and scrotum (transperineal biopsy). A small cut is made in the area of skin (perineum) between the anus and the scrotum. The biopsy needle is inserted through the cut and into the prostate to draw out a sample of tissue. An MRI or CT scan is generally used to guide this procedure.

What to expect during transrectal prostate biopsy

You will be asked to lie on your side with your knees pulled up to your chest. You might be asked to lie on your stomach. After cleaning the area and applying gel, your doctor will gently insert a thin ultrasound probe into your rectum.

Transrectal ultrasonography uses sound waves to create images of your prostate. Your doctor will use the images to identify the area that needs to be numbed with an injection to reduce discomfort associated with the biopsy. The ultrasound images are also used to guide the prostate biopsy needle into place.

Once the area is numbed and the biopsy device is situated, your doctor will retrieve thin, cylindrical sections of tissue with a spring-propelled needle. The procedure typically causes a very brief uncomfortable sensation each time the spring-loaded needle takes a sample.

Your doctor may target a suspicious area to biopsy or may take samples from several places in your prostate. Generally, 10 to 12 tissue samples are taken. The entire procedure usually takes about 10 minutes.

After the procedure

Your doctor will likely recommend that you do only light activities for 24 to 48 hours after your prostate biopsy.

You'll probably need to take an antibiotic for a few days. You might also:

  • Feel slight soreness and have some light bleeding from your rectum.
  • Have blood in your urine or stools for a few days.
  • Notice that your semen has a red or rust-colored tint caused by a small amount of blood in your semen. This can last for several weeks.

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Fever
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Prolonged or heavy bleeding
  • Pain that gets worse