A prostate biopsy is the removal of a small amount of tissue from the prostate gland. The tissue is examined for the presence of cancer cells.
A prostate biopsy is usually done after an abnormal finding by:
A prostate biopsy is the only way to find out if cancer cells are present.
Problems from the procedure may occur, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
You may be asked to do the following:
The type of anesthesia depends on the method that your doctor uses:
Your doctor will use one of the following methods to do the biopsy:
You may have discomfort and soreness at the biopsy site. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
Blood in the urine, stool, or semen is normal. This may last several days. You may be advised to avoid strenuous activity a day or two after the procedure. Follow your doctor's instructions on caring for the biopsy site.
After the sample is taken, it will be sent to a pathologist for examination under a microscope. If cancer is present, your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan.
It is important to monitor your recovery. Alert your doctor to any problems. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
National Cancer Institute
Urology Care Foundation
Prostate Cancer Canada
Prostate biopsy. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T905693/Prostate-biopsy. Updated April 28, 2017. Accessed October 10, 2016.
Rodriguez LV, Terris MK. Risks and complications of transrectal ultrasound guided prostate needle biopsy: a prospective study and review of the literature. J Urol. 1998;160(6-I):2115-2120.
Tests for prostate cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/how-diagnosed.html. Updated May 15, 2017. Accessed October 10, 2017.
Tiong HY, Liew LC, Samuel M, Consigliere D, Esuvaranathan K. A meta-analysis of local anesthesia for transrectal ultrasound-guided biopsy of the prostate. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2007;10(2):127-136.
Understanding prostate changes: A health guide for men. National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/prostate/understanding-prostate-changes. Accessed October 10, 2017.
What causes prostate cancer? Urology Care Foundation website. Available at: http://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/prostate-cancer/causes. Accessed October 10, 2017.
6/2/2011 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T905141/Treatment-for-tobacco-use: Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, Kelly S, Wu P, Ebbert JO. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.
7/13/2016 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T905693/Prostate-biopsy: Gershman B, Van Houten HK, Herrin J, et al. Impact of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening trials and revised PSA screening guidelines on rates of prostate biopsy and postbiopsy complications. Eur Urol. [Epub ahead of print] 2016 Mar 16.
Last reviewed September 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.