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What is a prostate biopsy?

A prostate biopsy is a diagnostic procedure used to take tissue samples from the prostate for microscopic analysis. This procedure helps detect or rule out prostate cancer, especially when there is suspicion based on elevated PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels or abnormalities found during a digital rectal exam.

Preparation for the Biopsy

Before the biopsy, the doctor will explain the procedure and potential risks in detail. Patients may be advised to stop taking certain medications that could increase the risk of bleeding, such as anticoagulants and some anti-inflammatory drugs. It may also be necessary for the patient to take antibiotics before and after the biopsy to reduce the risk of infection. Patients should refrain from eating and drinking for several hours before the procedure if anesthesia is used.

Biopsy Process

The prostate biopsy can be performed in several ways, but the most common are the transrectal and transperineal approaches. In a transrectal biopsy, an ultrasound probe is inserted into the rectum to visualize the prostate, and then a needle is inserted through the rectal wall to take tissue samples. In a transperineal biopsy, the needle is inserted through the skin between the anus and scrotum. Both procedures are usually performed under local anesthesia, which reduces pain and discomfort during the procedure.


After the biopsy, patients can usually go home immediately, but it is advised to avoid heavy physical work for a few days. Common post-biopsy symptoms include slight bleeding from the rectum, blood in the urine or semen, which is normal for a few days following the procedure. After the biopsy, the tissue is sent for pathological analysis. If cancerous cells are found, treatment will depend on the stage of the cancer, the patient’s overall health condition, and personal preferences.