Prostate & Transrectal
Ultrasound of the prostate uses sound waves to produce pictures of a man’s prostate gland and to help diagnose symptoms such as difficulty urinating or an elevated blood test result. It’s also used to investigate a nodule found during a rectal exam, detect abnormalities, and determine whether the gland is enlarged. Ultrasound is safe, noninvasive, and does not use ionizing radiation.
This procedure requires little to no special preparation. Leave jewelry at home and wear loose, comfortable clothing. You may be asked to wear a gown and to lie on your side with your knees toward your chest. To obtain high-quality images, an ultrasound transducer – a plastic cylinder about the size of a finger – is inserted short distance into the rectum. If a biopsy is planned, you may be told to avoid aspirin and other blood thinners for seven to 10 days prior to the procedure. You may be instructed to use an enema to clean out your bowel.
What are common uses of the procedure?
A transrectal ultrasound of the prostate gland is performed to:
- detect disorders within the prostate.
- determine whether the prostate is enlarged, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), with measurements acquired as needed for any treatment planning.
- detect an abnormal growth within the prostate.
- help diagnose the cause of a man’s infertility.
A transrectal ultrasound of the prostate gland is typically used to help diagnose symptoms such as:
- a nodule felt by a physician during a routine physical exam or prostate cancer screening exam.
- an elevated blood test result.
- difficulty urinating.
Because ultrasound provides real-time images, it also can be used to guide procedures such as needle biopsies, in which a needle is used to sample cells (tissue) from an abnormal area in the prostate gland for later laboratory testing.