Ultrasound display by Etan J. Tal (CC by 3.0)

Ultrasound display by Etan J. Tal (CC by 3.0)

What is it like to get a prostate biopsy? Well, all I can do is tell you how my procedure went, but from reading about others’ experiences, it seems like mine was fairly typical.

It all starts, of course, with a bad PSA score or a fast-rising PSA score or maybe a suspicious DRE (digital rectal exam). And your doctor says, “I think we should do a biopsy.”

At first I thought that I’d have to go to a local hospital for the test, but my doctor performs it in his office. We set up an appointment, and he had me take an antibiotic before (and after) the procedure.

The official medical name for the procedure I received is a Trans-rectal Ultrasound or TRUS-guided biopsy. The equipment uses sound waves to display an image of your prostate on a display screen.

You lie on your side and your doctor inserts an ultrasound probe in your rectum and then takes some measurements. I believe a “normal” size prostate is something like the size of a walnut and weighs about 25 grams or so. Let’s just say, mine was bigger than that.

Then he looks for any abnormalities in your prostate gland with the ultrasound probe. I believe they are looking for nodes or nodules that may appear as they move the probe around. In my case, nothing unusual was detected.

Next he attaches a spring loaded needle device to the ultrasound probe that actually shoots each needle into your prostate, removes a tiny core sample of tissue, and then immediately ejects back out. But before we got started, my doctor injected me with a little lidocaine to numb the area down there.

For my specific prostate biopsy, the doctor took 12 needle samples, 6 from the left side of the gland and six from the right side. I think this is fairly typical. The idea is to get a good cross section of your whole prostate gland to sample for any cancerous cells. I felt a slight pinching when the needle was launched, but that’s about it.

The whole thing took about 12-15 minutes at most from start to finish. You get up, get dressed and walk out of the office. Then the waiting for the lab results begins – which in my case took about 4 or 5 working days.

That night, when I got up to urinate, whoa – I saw reddish-bloody urine coming out. That shocked me, even though I was fully aware or warned that it would happen. The next thing to know is that your semen or ejaculate will be reddish-brown for up to 6 weeks after this procedure. It takes a good long time for this to clear up.

Below is a medical doctor that I believe does a great job of explaining what to expect.