What to Expect after a Prostate Biopsy

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The American Urologic Association recommends that most men begin prostate cancer screening at age 50. Abnormalities in screening tests may warrant a biopsy. To relieve some of the anxiety associated with the procedure, it is important to know what to expect after a prostate biopsy.

Getting info about prostate exams
Getting info about prostate exams (Image: Keith Brofsky/Valueline/Getty Images)

Biopsy Procedure

The prostate gland is examined by an ultrasound probe inserted into the rectum. Then a spring-loaded, hand-held biopsy gun fires a hollow 18-gauge needle into the prostate gland, and 10 to 12 samples of prostate tissue are retrieved. The procedure generally takes 20-30 minutes.

What to Do after the Biopsy

Continue taking the antibiotic your doctor prescribed for the procedure. Drink a lot of fluids after a biopsy. This will dilute the urine, preventing the formation of blood clots in the bladder. Resume your prescription medications.

Drink a lot of fluids after a biopsy
Drink a lot of fluids after a biopsy (Image: Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

What to Avoid

Do not consume any alcohol for the first 24 hours following the procedure. In addition, do not do any heavy lifting, straining, or strenuous exercise for five days, and refrain from sexual activity until 24 hours after rectal and urinary bleeding have stopped.

No heavy lifting for 5 days
No heavy lifting for 5 days (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Short-term Symptoms

Urine will likely be tinged with blood, and you may pass a few blood clots during urination or bowel movements. Bleeding should cease after a day or two. It is also normal to see blood in your ejaculate for several months after the biopsy.

Men's Bathroom sign
Men's Bathroom sign (Image: Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Biopsy Results

Expect to wait up to a week for the biopsy results. A pathologist must examine the prostate tissue under a microscope to determine if cancer is present. According to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, a first biopsy detects only 75 percent of existing cancers, so a second biopsy may be recommended six weeks to three months later.

Discussing test results
Discussing test results (Image: Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images)

Warnings

Call your physician immediately if you experience fever or chills, inability to urinate, blood in the urine that lasts for more than five days, or significant rectal bleeding that lasts for more than three days.

Feverish man
Feverish man (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

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References

  • Dr. Peter Scardino's Prostate Book; Peter T. Scardino, MD; 2005
  • 100 Questions & Answers About Prostate Cancer; Pamela Ellsworth, MD; 2007
  • Dr. Patrick Walsh's Guide to Surviving Cancer; Patrick C. Walsh, MD; 2007
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