Page Menu

What Should I Expect From a Prostate Biopsy?

A prostate biopsy may be recommended if the results of a digital rectal examination (DRE) or prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test suggest that prostate cancer may be present. The most common approach for performing this diagnostic test is transrectal, in which a needle is carefully passed through the wall of the rectum to retrieve a prostate tissue sample.

What to expect during a prostate biopsy

If a transrectal prostate biopsy is recommended for you, here’s what you can expect:

  • You will be asked to lie on your stomach or on your side with your knees pulled up to your chest.
  • After cleansing the area and applying a gel, a physician will gently guide a thin ultrasound probe into your rectum.
  • Using the probe, the physician will generate sound waves that will be used to create detailed images of your prostate.
  • Guided by the resulting ultrasound images, the physician will numb the appropriate area and then place a spring-propelled prostate biopsy needle in the proper position.
  • Once the area has become numb, the physician will use the needle to obtain several thin, cylindrical sections of prostate tissue for evaluation under a microscope.
  • Each time the needle retrieves a tissue sample, you may experience a brief pinching sensation.
  • The entire procedure will likely take about 10 minutes to complete.

What to expect after a prostate biopsy

After your procedure, you may have mild tenderness and see some light bleeding from your rectum. You may also see a small amount of blood in your urine, stool and semen. You may be advised to avoid intensive activities for 24-48 hours, and you should call your physician right away if you experience difficulty urinating, worsening pain or heavy bleeding.

Moffitt Cancer Center offers prostate biopsy services as well as a full range of other diagnostic tests for prostate cancer. Our Genitourinary Oncology Program accepts new patients with or without referrals. To request an appointment with an oncologist, call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online.