Transrectal ultrasound (also called endorectal ultrasound) of the prostate is a procedure in which imaging of the prostate, rectum, and nearby tissues is done using high-energy sound waves (ultrasound waves) generated by a probe inserted into the rectum.
- These ultrasound waves are echoed differently by various tissues or organs.
- The reflected waves help create an internal image of the organs forming a sonogram.
- The sonogram helps detect any abnormalities in the rectum and nearby structures such as the prostate.
Why is a transrectal ultrasound of the prostate done?
Transrectal ultrasound of the prostate may be done when a man presents with any symptoms of prostate diseases such as:
- Weakness and difficulty or pain while passing urine
- Thin urine stream or interrupted urine flow
- Urine urgency (a sudden urge to pass urine)
- Nocturia (increased urine frequency particularly at night)
- Burning during urinating
- Loss of bladder control
- Hematuria (blood in the urine)
- Hematospermia (blood in the semen)
- Erectile dysfunction (inability to keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse)
- Painful ejaculation
- Decreased ejaculate volume
- Bone pain
- Unexplained weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Increased fracture risk
- Back, pelvic or hip pain that worsens or does not go away
These symptoms may be due to prostate conditions such as benign prostatic hypertrophy or prostate cancer.
Transrectal ultrasound of the prostate may be done when the blood tests or a per rectal examination reveals any abnormalities related to the prostate. Transrectal ultrasound of the prostate may help diagnose the cause of infertility in men.
Besides creating an image of the internal structures, a transrectal ultrasound may help collect a small sample from a mass or nodule in the prostate (biopsy), which is then examined in the lab.
IMAGESBrowse through our medical image collection to see illustrations of human anatomy and physiology See Images
How do I prepare for a transrectal ultrasound?
Your doctor will have a detailed discussion with you before the procedure. They will answer your questions related to the procedure and explain to you how to prepare for it. Moreover, they will ask you to sign a consent form for the procedure.
- You may need to remove your accessories and wear a hospital gown before the procedure.
- You do not typically need to stop eating or drinking before the procedure.
- Anesthesia or sedation is generally not required.
- If you are on any blood thinners, your doctor may ask you to stop them a few days before the procedure.
Additionally, they may prescribe you a laxative (stool softener) or administer an enema before the procedure because the presence of feces in the rectum may make imaging difficult or inaccurate.
What are the risks of a transrectal ultrasound of the prostate?
Transrectal ultrasound of the prostate is a safe procedure with minimal pain or discomfort. The procedure does not use any harmful radiation such as X-rays and is thus quite safe.
There may be mild discomfort, similar to a per rectal examination when the probe or transducer is inserted into the rectum.
Needle insertion may be needed when a biopsy is done. However, the rectal wall is insensitive to pain in the region of the prostate. Hence, the discomfort is minimal even when a biopsy is done although the procedure may take a little more time than when done without doing the biopsy.
You may notice a little amount of blood in the semen or urine for a few days following the procedure.
Some people may develop allergic reactions due to the latex in which the transducer probe is covered before inserting. Inform your doctor before the procedure if you have any allergies, underlying health conditions, or take any medications.
- Women's Gymnastics Brings High Risk for Concussion
- Going Solo: Masturbation May Give Humans an Evolutionary Edge
- Longer Breastfeeding in Infancy, Better School Grades for Kids?
- Kids With ADHD, Behavior Issues Have Poorer Trajectories as Adults
- FDA Finalizes Limit on How Much Arsenic Can Be in Apple Juice
- More Health News »
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top What Is a Transrectal Ultrasound of the Prostate Related Articles
Can Prostate Cancer Be Completely Cured?Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men. Due to routine screening of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in the United States, nearly 90% of prostate cancers get detected in early stages. When found early, there are several treatment options available and prostate cancer has a high chance of getting cured.
BPH SlideshowBenign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition cause by an enlarged prostate. Get more information on how an enlarged prostate is diagnosed and available treatment for enlarged prostate glands.
BPH QuizTake the Enlarge Prostate Quiz and challenge your knowledge of prostate problems. Learn causes, symptoms, treatments, and diagnosis as well as little-known facts about the prostate, and what happens to men when the prostate is enlarged.
How Do You Check for Prostate Cancer at Home?Prostate cancer is highly treatable in its early stages. Thanks to the increase in cancer screening, cancer is also being diagnosed early.
How Painful Is a Prostate Biopsy?A prostate biopsy is a simple surgical procedure that takes just 10 minutes. It involves inserting the biopsy needle through the wall of your rectum to reach your prostate to cut and remove around 10-12 small samples of tissue from the prostate. The idea of the procedure makes a prostate biopsy appear as an extremely painful procedure.
How Quickly Does Prostate Cancer Spread?Prostate cancer is a cancer that develops in the prostate gland in men and it is one of the most common types of cancer. In some cases, it can take up to eight years to spread from the prostate to other parts of the body (metastasis), typically the bones. In other cases, it may be more aggressive.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men after skin cancer.
- Risk factors include age, family history, ethnicity, and diet.
- Prostate cancer is diagnosed by a digital rectal exam, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, and prostate biopsy.
- Symptoms may include
- frequent need to urinate,
- incontinence, pain,
- blood in the urine,
- fatigue, and more.
- Prognosis and treatment depend on cancer staging.
- Watchful waiting,
- cryotherapy, and
- other management strategies are available.
- Research and clinical trials strive to find new and better treatments for prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer QuizIs prostate cancer the most common cancer in men? Take this prostate cancer quiz to find out and learn the causes, symptoms, and treatments of this disease.
Prostate Cancer Facts
Prostate cancer is a leading cause of cancer and cancer death in males; in some men, identifying it early may prevent or delay metastasis and death from prostate cancer.
- The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland that is a part of the male reproductive system that wraps around the male urethra at it exits the bladder.
- Prostate cancer is common in men over 50 years of age, with the risk of developing prostate cancer increases with aging.
Things That May Slow Prostate Cancer ProgressionStudies are ongoing, but are there certain foods and healthy practices that can slow the growth of tumors in the prostate? Learn what could help with this WebMD slideshow.
Illustrations of ProstateSide View of the Prostate. The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located between the bladder and the penis. See a picture of the Prostate and learn more about the health topic.
PSA Test (Prostate Specific Antigen)Prostate specific antigen (PSA) is a protein found in semen. PSA levels are used to detect prostate cancer and monitor the progression of the disease. Learn about test uses, results, and accuracy.
How Long Does It Take to Recover From a Prostate Biopsy?A patient may take about four to six weeks or even more to 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.
What Are the Five Stages of Prostate Cancer?The Gleason grading system grades prostate cancer from 1 to 5. According to cells’ appearances under a microscope, this system grades the most common (primary) and second most common (secondary) patterns of cells in a tissue sample collected via biopsy.
What Happens If You Don't Treat Prostate Cancer?If prostate cancer is left untreated, it may grow and possibly spread out of the prostate gland to the local tissues or distant sites such as liver and lungs.