Before performing a prostate biopsy, a doctor will use local anesthesia to numb the area. They will then use an ultrasound probe to guide a needle to take several small samples of prostate tissue.
The doctor will insert the probe into the rectum to obtain an image of the prostate gland. The prostate is on one side of the rectal wall. Using the image for guidance, the doctor will use the needle to remove 6–14 core samples, depending on the type of biopsy. They will usually take some samples from each side of the prostate.
A spring-loaded tool punches the needle through the rectal wall into the prostate gland. Each sample comprises a minute cylindrical core of cells. The action is very quick, and the anesthesia means that it is not usually painful. Typically, the entire procedure takes less than 10 minutes.
A transperineal biopsy is another type of biopsy procedure. During this operation, a doctor will make a small puncture site between the anus and the scrotum. To extract the samples, they will insert the needle through the cut and into the prostate.
The doctor may use an ultrasound or MRI scan to guide the procedure. Ultrasound guided biopsies usually take up to 45 minutes to complete. An MRI guided biopsy can provide more detailed images. These biopsies may take 30–90 minutes and involve the use of a contrast dye. Healthcare staff will monitor the individual for up to an hour afterward.
It can take several days to recover from a prostate biopsy. During this time, you may experience:
Pain in the area
Blood in the urine or semen
Bleeding from the rectum
To reduce the risk of infection, doctors usually provide the individual with antibiotics to take before the biopsy and for up to 2 days afterward.
A person can minimize the recovery time following a prostate biopsy by:
Avoiding alcohol until they have completed the course of antibiotics
Avoiding strenuous exercise for 5 days
Taking pain relievers according to a doctor’s advice