(Transrectal Biopsy; Transurethral Biopsy; Transperineal Biopsy)
by Michelle Badash, MS
A prostate biopsy is the removal of a small amount of tissue from the prostate gland. The tissue is examined for the presence of cancer cells.
Reasons for Procedure
A prostate biopsy is usually done after an abnormal finding by:
A prostate biopsy is the only way to find out if cancer cells are present.
Problems from the procedure may occur, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
You may be asked to do the following:
The type of anesthesia depends on the method that your doctor uses:
Description of the Procedure
Your doctor will use one of the following methods to do the biopsy:
How Long Will It Take?
About 30 minutes
Will It Hurt?
You may have discomfort and soreness at the biopsy site. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
Blood in the urine, stool, or semen is normal. This may last several days. You may be advised to avoid strenuous activity a day or two after the procedure. Follow your doctor's instructions on caring for the biopsy site.
After the sample is taken, it will be sent to a pathologist for examination under a microscope. If cancer is present, your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan.
Call Your Doctor
It is important to monitor your recovery. Alert your doctor to any problems. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
National Cancer Institute
Urology Care Foundation
Prostate Cancer Canada
Prostate biopsy. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T905693/Prostate-biopsy . Updated April 28, 2017. Accessed October 10, 2016.
Rodriguez LV, Terris MK. Risks and complications of transrectal ultrasound guided prostate needle biopsy: a prospective study and review of the literature. J Urol. 1998;160(6-I):2115-2120.
Tests for prostate cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/how-diagnosed.html. Updated May 15, 2017. Accessed October 10, 2017.
Tiong HY, Liew LC, Samuel M, Consigliere D, Esuvaranathan K. A meta-analysis of local anesthesia for transrectal ultrasound-guided biopsy of the prostate. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2007;10(2):127-136.
Understanding prostate changes: A health guide for men. National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/prostate/understanding-prostate-changes. Accessed October 10, 2017.
What causes prostate cancer? Urology Care Foundation website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed October 10, 2017.
6/2/2011 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed... : Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, Kelly S, Wu P, Ebbert JO. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.
7/13/2016 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T905693/Prostate-biopsy : Gershman B, Van Houten HK, Herrin J, et al. Impact of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening trials and revised PSA screening guidelines on rates of prostate biopsy and postbiopsy complications. Eur Urol. [Epub ahead of print] 2016 Mar 16.
Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 7/13/2016
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at email@example.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.