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How Do Doctors Perform a Prostate Biopsy?

According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. As with many forms of cancer, early detection provides the greatest chance of cure. It is important for all men over the age of 50 to have regularly scheduled annual screening exams, which include a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test and digital rectal exam (DRE). 

A doctor will evaluate these prostate screening tests and may recommend a biopsy. Here we will explain what a prostate biopsy is, the types of prostate biopsy procedures and what to expect during the procedure. 

What is a Prostate Biopsy?

The prostate is a small, walnut-shaped gland in men that produces fluid that nourishes and transports the sperm. A prostate biopsy is a procedure performed to remove samples of suspicious tissues from the prostate and is used to detect prostate cancer.

Your doctor may recommend a prostate biopsy if: 

  • A PSA (Prostate-specific antigen) test shows levels higher than normal for your age
  • Your doctor finds lumps of other abnormalities during a digital rectal exam 
  • You’ve had a previous biopsy that was normal, but you still have elevated PSA levels
  • A previous biopsy revealed prostate tissue cells that were abnormal but not cancerous 

Types of Prostate Biopsy Procedures: 

Prostate Biopsy samples can be collected in different ways: 

  • Standard Transrectal Biopsy: The most common way of performing a prostate biopsy is passing the needle through the wall of the rectum. 

  • Transperineal Biopsy: involves the doctor putting a needle into the prostate through the skin behind the testicles, an area known as the perineum. A number of tissue samples are collected and sent to the lab for review. An advantage of the transperineal biopsy is that it reduces the potential for infection or bleeding. 

  • Stereotactic Transperineal Prostate Biopsy (STPB): At Chicago Prostate Cancer Center, we have developed a new biopsy technique that is more comprehensive than the standard office biopsy. The Stereotactic Transperineal Prostate Biopsy is performed by systematically sampling every part of the prostate through the perineum while the patient is under general anesthesia. This technique is generally reserved for patients who have a rising PSA level, despite having had a negative office biopsy in the past. To learn more about STPB, click here


    What to Expect During the Procedure: 

  • Standard Transrectal Biopsy
  • You will be asked to lie on your side with your knees pulled to your chest
      • After cleaning and applying gel, your doctor will gently insert a thin ultrasound probe into your rectum
        • Transrectal ultrasonography uses sound waves to create images of your prostate. Your doctor will then use the images to identify areas that may need to be numbed in order to reduce discomfort.
      • Once the area is numbed and the biopsy device is situated, your doctor will retrieve thin, cylindrical sections of tissue with a spring-propelled needle. 
      • The procedure typically causes brief uncomfortable sensations each time the needle takes a sample
      • Generally, 10-12 tissue samples are taken and the procedure takes approximately 10 minutes 
    • Transperineal Biopsy:
      • The biopsy needle is inserted through the skin between the anus and the scrotum (perineum) and into the prostate to draw out a sample tissue.
      • The biopsy is often done as an outpatient procedure and general anesthesia is used to provide more comfort. 


    World-Class Prostate Cancer Treatment in Chicago

    Chicago Prostate Cancer Center is committed to providing  comprehensive and compassionate treatment for prostate cancer patients. We pride ourselves on being a patient-centric facility with experienced, friendly staff and state-of-the-art equipment to ensure that our patients undergo a stress-free and comfortable prostate cancer treatment. 

    Contact us to learn more.

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