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What is Transrectal Ultrasound?

Ultrasound scans use sound waves that build a picture of the structures inside the body. To scan the prostate gland, a small probe is passed through the anal opening, which takes images of the prostate. This type of scan is used to measure the size and density of the gland. A sample of cells (biopsy) can be taken at the same time for examination under the microscope by a pathologist. The scan may be uncomfortable but it only takes a few minutes.

Indications of Transrectal Ultrasound

Transrectal ultrasound is indicated when blood levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) are abnormally high or the findings on examining the prostate through the anus are abnormal.

Before transrectal ultrasound, your doctor prescribes antibiotics and encourages you to clear your bowels.

Procedure of Transrectal Ultrasound

An ultrasound probe is gently inserted into your anus. This probe allows visualization of the prostate. Images of the prostate can be viewed on a monitor. It also allows your surgeon to insert a special needle to collect samples of your prostate (biopsy). The procedure takes about 20 minutes.

Following a prostate biopsy, you can expect to see some blood in the urine, bowel, and semen. This usually settles down in a few weeks. You may develop an infection or fever after the procedure (rare).

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