Why You Need This Test
If a potential prostate problem is identified through
a (DRE) digital rectal exam or a PSA (prostate specific
blood test, your doctor may suggest that you have an
ultrasound. This imaging technique, along with a possible
biopsy (tissue sample), helps your doctor discover
cancer early, when it's more likely to be treatable.
What Ultrasound Reveals
Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to create
an image of the prostate gland. This can help your doctor
identify abnormalities in the gland.
How Ultrasound is Done
The ultrasound test is simple and is often done in
your doctor's office. It usually takes less then 15
To clear your rectum, you may be asked to use an enema
or suppository beforehand.
Creating the Image
You will lie on your side and a tube-like probe barely
bigger than a thumb is covered
with a condom and your doctor gently inserts
the probe into your rectum. The probe emits sound
a image of your prostate on a video screen. Your doctor
views the image, looking at the size, shape, and structure
of your prostate.
If a Biopsy is Needed
If your doctor finds suspicious areas in your prostate
or if your PSA blood test is abnormal, a biopsy may
be recommended. You'll
be given antibiotics both before and after the test. To
do the biopsy, your doctor takes tissue samples from
the suspicious areas of your prostate
for examination. A biopsy is often done during the
Just below your bladder and in front of your rectum
is a small, muscular gland called the prostate. It wraps
around the urethra, the tube that carries urine from
your bladder. Your prostate produces most of your semen,
the fluid that carries sperm.
At Risk for Cancer
If cells in the prostate change abnormally, cancer may
form. Cancer often appears in the outer areas of the
prostate (near the rectum) before spreading to the inner
areas of the gland. Usually, there are no symptoms unless
the growth begins to press on the urethra.
Preventing Future Problems
Ultrasound alone is not a complete prostate examination;
it's used to investigate abnormalities found by other
tests. Even if no problems show up on your ultrasound
scan, continue to have regular prostate exams.
Notice: Information on this web site is provided for informational
purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You
should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating
a medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical
problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.