March 16, 2009 -- Question: What is a TRUS-guided biopsy, when is it used to diagnose prostate cancer, and what are the risks/side effects?
Answer: The transrectal ultrasound is the most commonly used technique to diagnose prostate cancer. This is used for men with an elevated PSA or for men with an abnormality on the prostate. It's typically a short, office-based procedure and is done under local anesthesia.
The procedure itself consists of a small probe that's placed in the rectum. The prostate is visualized and several small snips of tissue are taken from the prostate. This is sent to a pathologist for them to look at and diagnose prostate cancer. The potential risks that one can be exposed to during the procedure include a risk of infection. There is also a risk of some blood in the urine and stool. And some worsened urinary symptomatology after the procedure.