Prostate biopsy

A prostate biopsy is a procedure involving the removal of samples of suspicious tissue from the prostate. A needle is used to collect a number of tissue samples from the prostate gland by the Urologist. The samples can be collected by passing the needle through the wall of the rectum (transrectal biopsy) or passing the needle between the area of skin between the anus and scrotum (transperineal biopsy). A transperinal biopsy is most commonly used and is done under general anaesthetic. The entire process takes approximately 20 minutes and generally 10 to 12 samples are taken. Tissue samples are examined under a microscope for cell abnormalities that are a sign of prostate cancer.

You may be recommended to have a prostate biopsy if the results from initial tests such as a PSA or digital rectal exam suggest you may have prostate cancer. It is evaluated to determine how quickly the cancer might progress and the best treatment options.


  • It can help find out how aggressive the cancer might be
  • It can pick up a faster growing cancer at an early stage
  • It can help your doctor decide the best treatment options for prostate cancer


  • Rectal bleeding
  • Blood in semen- may persist for a few weeks after biopsy
  • Blood in urine- usually minor
  • Difficulty urinating- rare
  • Infection- rare
  • Can only show whether there was cancer in the samples taken so its impossible cancer might be missed.