A patient may take about four to six weeks or even more recover after a prostate biopsy. The recovery process after biopsy usually depends on the patient's health and age. Doctors may recommend only light activities for 24-48 hours after a prostate biopsy. The doctor prescribes painkillers, vitamins, and antibiotics for a few days to speed up the healing process.
After the biopsy, it is normal to experience the following sensations or symptoms:
- Burning urination: It may start within 24 hours after the biopsy and may continue until three to seven days. This burning sensation is a side effect of the procedure and usually considered normal.
- Frequent urination: It may gradually improve over the first 24-36 hours.
- Blood in the urine: It is considered normal to have slightly red-tinged urine or urine that resembles the color of a rose or red wine. This may last from 12 hours to 3 weeks after the biopsy.
- Blood in stool: A patient may notice red stains on the toilet tissue or see some bloody streaks in the stool. This may last for up to five days.
- Blood in the semen: This may persist for up to six weeks after the biopsy.
- Tiredness: A patient may feel tired for a month or two. It usually takes 30-45 days to regain full normal strength after the procedure; hence, sufficient rest is usually advised by the doctor.
Post-biopsy restrictions and instructions:
- Avoid sexual activity for seven days.
- Avoid heavy lifting, exercising, and golfing for at least seven days.
- Try to avoid straining with bowel movements. Patients may use an over-the-counter stool softener if necessary.
- Medications for preexisting conditions should be taken as per the doctor’s instructions.
- Do not take alcohol while on antibiotics and painkillers.
Why is a prostate biopsy done?
A prostate biopsy is done to screen for prostate cancers. This is to confirm whether cancer is present, or if a prostate cancer diagnosis is aggressive. In a prostate biopsy, small samples of the prostate are removed and then observed under the microscope. Doctors usually recommend a biopsy of the prostate gland based on certain findings.
- If prostate-specific antigen blood test results are higher than the average age
- If the doctor detects signs of a prostate problem during a digital rectal exam
- If a biopsy is the only method to confirm the cancer
A prostate biopsy involves:
- Collecting minute samples of the prostate gland. A computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan is also used to guide them through the procedure.
- A prostate biopsy takes about 10 minutes and is usually done in the doctor’s office. The samples will be sent to a lab and will be looked at under a microscope to see if they contain cancer cells.
- If cancer is detected in the patient, it will also be assigned a grade. The results are available after one to three days, but it can sometimes take longer.
A prostate biopsy may be done in several different ways which may include:
- Transrectal method: This is the most common approach. Biopsies are done using a transrectal ultrasound-guided (TRUS) technique. A TRUS prostate biopsy is where the needle goes through the wall of the last part of the gut (rectum).
- Perineal method: This is done through the skin between the scrotum and the rectum.
- Transurethral method: This is a type of biopsy done through the urethra using a cystoscope (a flexible tube and viewing device).
- Transperineal biopsy: The doctor inserts a needle into the prostate through the skin between the testicles and the anus. This area is called the perineum.
- Targeted biopsy: The needle is inserted through a template or grid. This is a targeted biopsy, which can target a specific area of the prostate using MRI scans. An advantage of the transperineal biopsy is that it can now be performed under local anesthesia.
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