Prostate Biopsy (TRUS/Biopsy)

This is easily done in the clinic under local anaesthesia to confirm prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is suspected when the PSA (prostate specific antigen) level is > 4 ug/L or an abnormal nodule is felt on the prostate.

An ultrasound probe slightly larger than a finger is inserted into the anus. After measuring the size of the prostate, local anaesthesia is injected around the prostatic nerves. Some 10 to 12 biopsies are taken using a small spring-loaded needle. The whole procedure takes 15 to 20 minutes and the histology results is ready by the 3rd day.

Normally, the accuracy rate of detecting prostate cancer is > 95%. However, repeat biopsy may still be needed if the PSA continues to rise over the years, as the cancer may initially be so small that it can be missed at the first sampling.

MRI-US fusion biopsy

To improve the accuracy rate, the ultrasound image can be fused with the MRI image to target the suspicious areas. This makes the biopsy more precise and reduce the number of samples that need to be taken.

A special software program is required for this and the MRI scan done beforehand. It takes longer to do and costs more because of the added cost of the MRI.

Complications include:

  • infection. This is more common in diabetics and if there is underlying prostate infection. With antibiotics, the risk of severe infection should be < 5%. The symptoms are burning pain during urination, blood in the urine and high fever. If this happens, hospital admission for intravenous antibiotics is needed.
  • bloody urine. This usually clears by the 3rd day but if excessive bleeding occurs, the blood clots can block the bladder leading to painful retention of urine. If this happens, catheterisation and washout of the clots is needed..
  • bleeding from the anusThis tends to occur in those who have pre-existing piles. It usually stops the next day.
  • acute retention of urine. .This is more likely to occur if the prostate is large and if the patient has untreated bladder obstruction. It is due to prostate swelling which then compresses the urethra to block the bladder. A foley catheter will need to be inserted for a few days if this occurs

Desired outcomes:

  • minimal pain during biopsy
  • minimal anal bleeding
  • no clot retentionof bladder
  • no severe sepsis needing hospitalisation (<1% occurrence)