What Is A Prostate Biopsy?
A prostate biopsy is a procedure to remove samples of suspicious tissue from the prostate to examine under a microscope for signs of prostate cancer. A biopsy will often be recommended if a digital rectal examination (DRE) reveals a lump or some other abnormality in the prostate. It may also be recommended if a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test suggests the possibility of risk for prostate cancer because of the level of PSA in the patient’s blood. A prostate biopsy may be done in several different ways:
This is done through the rectum and is the most common. Using an ultrasound probe in your rectum, a special needle is inserted into your prostate gland via your rectum to collect prostate tissue samples.
This is done through the urethra using a cystoscope (a flexible tube and viewing device) which is inserted through the opening of the urethra at the tip of the penis.. Tissue samples are then collected from the prostate through the scope.
This is done through the skin between the scrotum and the rectum. A small incision is made in the perineum and a biopsy needle is then inserted through the incision and into the prostate several times to get samples from different areas of the prostate.
Risks Of A Prostate Biopsy
Although serious complications are rare, every procedure carries a certain level of risk. Some potential complications of a prostate biopsy may include:
- Bruising and discomfort at the biopsy site
- Trouble urinating
There may be other risks, depending on your condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider before the procedure.
What To Expect After A Prostate Biopsy
Your recovery process will vary depending on the type of anesthesia that is used. If you were given general anesthesia, you will be taken to a recovery room for observation. Once your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing are stable and you are alert, you will be taken to your hospital room or discharged to your home. Your doctor will also likely recommend that you only engage in light activities for at least 24 to 48 hours after your prostate biopsy.
The biopsy site may be tender or sore for several days after the biopsy. You can take a pain reliever for soreness as recommended by your healthcare provider. You may also notice blood in your urine or stool for a few days after the biopsy but this is relatively common. Call your healthcare provider if you experience any difficulty following the biopsy or notice any of the following complications:
- Increase in the amount of blood in your urine or stool
- Belly or pelvic pain
- Trouble urinating
- Changes in the way your urine looks or smells or burning with urination (may be signs of infection)
- Fever and/or chills
Results Of A Prostate Biopsy
Results of a prostate biopsy are usually available within 10 days following the procedure. If cancer cells are present, a grade (Gleason score) will be given, which your doctor will discuss with you. The Gleason score is considered a tool for predicting how aggressive the cancer is. Normal results from a biopsy will suggest that no cancer cells have been found in the prostate. While an abnormal result will indicate that cancer cells are present. Your pathology report may include:
- A description of the biopsy sample
- A description of the cells
- Cancer grading
- The pathologist’s diagnosis