Before a prostate biopsy, discuss all the steps you or your doctor can take to make the experience as comfortable, safe, and informative as possible. Many men choose to have prostate-specific antigen PSA blood tests to check for hidden prostate cancer, despite the uncertain benefits.
Having an abnormal PSA test result often leads to a prostate biopsy—the only way to confirm the presence of cancer.
Biopsies are invasive, but they have become routine. To reduce discomfort and get the best results, discuss the procedure in detail with your doctor. Certain practices can improve the overall outcome—for example, make sure you get a shot of anesthetic into the prostate to numb pain during the procedure.
The instrument used to perform most prostate biopsies today is a spring-loaded device that pokes a hollow needle through the rectal wall to collect small samples of prostate tissue, guided by an ultrasound image. A newer technique using MRI scans for guidance is also available but is not the standard technology. The samples are quite small—just several times the diameter of the lead in a mechanical pencil.
Later, a pathologist checks the samples under a microscope for signs of cancer. Prostate biopsy comes with certain risks.
For example, when the biopsy needle passes through the rectal wall to reach the prostate, it can spread bacteria or an infection to the prostate gland or bloodstream. The way that prostate biopsy samples are handled varies "Sexual activity after prostate biopsy" hospitals. The samples, or "cores," are put onto glass slides to be examined under a microscope for signs of cancer. Find out if the physician doing the biopsy will place each core in a separate, labeled container.
If cancer is discovered, its location in the prostate gland can affect decisions about further testing and possible treatment. Individual labeling of biopsy cores is more expensive, and not all hospitals provide this level of service.
Most men do not find prostate biopsy excessively painful or uncomfortable, and the complications are usually not serious—but can be.
Certain steps taken before, during, and after the procedure can improve the outcome:. Taking preventive antibiotics—before and after the procedure—cuts the risk of infection substantially.
Most infections are not dangerous but could become so if they get out of control. The latest science says that it's unnecessary to have an enema before the biopsy to reduce the chance of infection.
The body can fight infection, especially if you take preventive antibiotics. Some doctors may do a test to identify the types of bacteria living in the rectum and use that information to select the best antibiotic to use.
Before the biopsy, your doctor may advise you to stop taking daily low-dose aspirin or an anticoagulant blood thinner such as warfarin Coumadindabigatran Pradaxaedoxaban Savaysarivaroxaban Xareltoor apixaban Eliquis.