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Men's Health

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Prostate Biopsy


A prostate biopsy has a slight risk of causing problems such as:

  • Infection. This is more common in men who have undiagnosed prostatitis. Usually, taking antibiotic medicine before the biopsy prevents an infection from developing.
  • Bleeding into the urethra or bladder. This can cause a blood blister (hematoma), an inability to urinate, or a need to urinate often.
  • Bleeding from the rectum. If you have a transrectal biopsy, you may experience a small amount of bleeding from your rectum for 2 to 3 days after the biopsy.
  • An allergic reaction to the anesthetic medicines used during the biopsy.

After the biopsy

Call your doctor immediately if you:

  • Have heavy bleeding or bleeding continues longer than 2 to 3 days.
  • Have increased pain.
  • Have a fever.
  • Are unable to urinate within 8 hours or have blood in the urine for longer than 2 to 3 days.


A prostate gland camera.gif biopsy is a test to remove small samples of prostate tissue to be examined under a microscope. Results are usually available within 10 days.

Prostate biopsy

The prostate gland tissue samples appear normal under the microscope, with no signs of infection or cancer.


Cancer cells or signs of infection are found.

Signs of an abnormal noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland (benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH), tuberculosis, lymphoma, or rectal or bladder cancer are present.

If cancer cells are present, a grade (Gleason score) will be given, which your doctor will discuss with you. The Gleason score is considered a tool for predicting how aggressive the cancer is.

What Affects the Test

Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:

  • The biopsy may not contain enough tissue to make a diagnosis.
  • A chance that a cancer may be missed since the biopsy takes a small amount of tissue.

What To Think About

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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