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Prostate Biopsy

Cancer occurs when abnormal cells form a tumor (a lump of cells that grow uncontrolled). If the results of your exam and tests lead your doctor to suspect prostate cancer, a core needle biopsy will be done. A thin needle is used to remove small samples of prostate tissue. These samples are checked for cancer.

Image of patient undergoing procedure

Taking tissue samples

A biopsy takes about 15 to 20 minutes. Before it starts, you may be given an enema or suppository to clear the bowels. Antibiotics are given at least 1 hour prior to the biopsy. During the procedure:

  • You will be given antibiotics to prevent infection.

  • You may be given a sedative, local anesthetic, or pain medication.

  • A small probe is inserted into the rectum as you lie on your side. An image of your prostate can then be seen on a video monitor. This is called a transrectal ultrasound (TRUS).

  • With the TRUS image as a guide, your doctor uses a thin needle to remove tiny tissue samples from several sites in the prostate.

  • These tissue samples are sent to the pathology department. They are looked at under a microscope so a diagnosis can be made. 

Risks and complications of core needle biopsy

  • Infection

  • Blood in urine, stool, or semen

  • Pain

 

Online Medical Reviewer: Akin, Louise, RN
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 9/12/2014
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