Transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) guided biopsy

Your doctor might take a sample of tissue from your prostate gland to look for cancer cells. This can be done during a transrectal ultrasound. It can help to diagnose prostate cancer and is called a biopsy.

You might have an MRI scan before your transrectal ultrasound guided biopsy.

What is a transrectal ultrasound guided biopsy?

This is a type of needle biopsy to look for cancer cells in the prostate. Your doctor takes a series of small tissue samples from the prostate to examine under a microscope.

You have the biopsy through your back passage (rectum) using a transrectal ultrasound scanner.

Preparing for your TRUS biopsy

You have the biopsy in the outpatient department.

Your nurse will ask you to sign a consent form once they have given you information about the procedure.

You can’t have a TRUS biopsy if you have a urine infection. Some hospitals might get you to do a test before you have the procedure. Or just check with you that there’s no pain when you wee.

You take antibiotics to stop infection developing after the biopsy. You have a dose of antibiotics before the biopsy, and then for a couple of days afterwards.

Eating and drinking and medicines

You usually have a TRUS biopsy under local anaesthetic, so you can generally eat and drink normally beforehand and afterwards.

Take your usual medicines as normal, unless your doctor tells you otherwise. But if you take warfarin to thin your blood you should stop this before you have your biopsy. Your doctor will tell you when you need to stop taking it.

What happens

In the biopsy room

Before you have the biopsy, your doctor shows you the ultrasound machine and the very fine needle they use to take the tissue samples. It can make quite a loud noise, so it’s good to expect this. Your doctor will explain the whole procedure before they start and you can ask any questions.

During the biopsy

First, you lie down on your left side. Your specialist injects local anaesthetic into your back passage (rectum), to numb the area.

The doctor puts an ultrasound probe into your rectum to examine your prostate. To get the samples of prostate tissue, they push the fine needle along the ultrasound probe and into the prostate gland.

This is a little uncomfortable but doesn’t take long. You feel a slight jolt each time the doctor takes a sample.

This might happen up to 12 times as the doctor takes the different tissue samples. The whole procedure takes about 20 minutes.

After the biopsy

After the test, you have a rest and a drink. You can then go home. The team monitors you for at least 30 minutes afterwards. It is very important to drink a lot of fluids for the next 24 hours.