Prostate Ultrasound

What is ultrasound?
Ultrasound is like ordinary sound except it has a frequency (or pitch) higher than human beings can hear. When sent into the body from a transducer (scanner) resting on the patient’s skin, the sound is reflected off internal structures. The returning echoes are received by the transducer and converted by an electronic instrument into an image of the internal structures on a viewing screen. Diagnostic ultrasound is commonly called sonography or ultrasonography.

Is ultrasound safe?
There are no known harmful effects associated with the medical use of sonography. Studies in humans have revealed no direct link between the use of diagnostic ultrasound and any adverse outcome. Although the possibility exists that biological effects may be identified in the future, current information indicates that the benefits to patients far outweigh the risks, if any.

Why should I have a prostate ultrasound?
Many diseases involve the prostate gland. Ultrasound images are used in conjunction with a physical examination to localize and identify these disease processes. Diagnosis often requires obtaining a biopsy of a specific area. If a biopsy is needed, ultrasound can guide the biopsy needle into the lesion.

How is the examination performed?
Because the prostate gland is located immediately in front of the rectum, the transducer is lubricated and placed into the rectum so the sound will only be required to travel a short distance. The image can be obtained from different orientations to get the best view of the prostate gland. Your doctor may request an ultrasound-guided biopsy. This is accomplished by advancing a needle into the prostate gland while watching with ultrasound. A small amount of tissue is taken for microscopic examination.

Who will perform the exam?
The exam may be performed by a physician, usually a radiologist or an urologist, or a sonographer. When a sonographer performs the examination, the study will then be interpreted by a radiologist. The findings will be reported to your referring doctor

Is specific preparation required?
For some patients, an enema is used as a routine preparation for ultrasound for the prostate. If a biopsy is required, you may be given antibiotics by mouth or by injection before and after the procedure. Be sure to inform your doctor of any medications you are currently taking and if you are allergic to any medications.

Will it hurt?
If no biopsy is required, ultrasound examination of the prostate is similar in discomfort to a rectal examination performed by your doctor. If a biopsy is performed, additional discomfort, due to the needle insertion, is usually minimal because the rectal wall is relatively insensitive in the region of the prostate.

How long will it take?
The amount of time will vary, depending on the reason for your examination, the need for biopsy, and how your prostate appears on ultrasound. The ultrasound scan takes less than 20 minutes to perform, while the procedure may take up to 45 minutes if biopsy is required.

How will I feel after the examination?
As after any rectal examination, you may experience some mucous discharge or minimal bleeding from your rectum, especially if you have hemorrhoids. In the case of biopsy, many patients will have a small amount of blood in the stool, urine, or semen after the procedure.

What is ultrasound?
Ultrasound is like ordinary sound except it has a frequency (or pitch) higher than human beings can hear. When sent into the body from a transducer (scanner) resting on the patient's skin, the sound is reflected off internal structures. The returning echoes are received by the transducer and converted by an electronic instrument into an image of the internal structures on a viewing screen. Diagnostic ultrasound is commonly called sonography or ultrasonography.

Is ultrasound safe?
There are no known harmful effects associated with the medical use of sonography. Studies in humans have revealed no direct link between the use of diagnostic ultrasound and any adverse outcome. Although the possibility exists that biological effects may be identified in the future, current information indicates that the benefits to patients far outweigh the risks, if any.

Why should I have a prostate ultrasound?
Many diseases involve the prostate gland. Ultrasound images are used in conjunction with a physical examination to localize and identify these disease processes. Diagnosis often requires obtaining a biopsy of a specific area. If a biopsy is needed, ultrasound can guide the biopsy needle into the lesion.

How is the examination performed?
Because the prostate gland is located immediately in front of the rectum, the transducer is lubricated and placed into the rectum so the sound will only be required to travel a short distance. The image can be obtained from different orientations to get the best view of the prostate gland. Your doctor may request an ultrasound-guided biopsy. This is accomplished by advancing a needle into the prostate gland while watching with ultrasound. A small amount of tissue is taken for microscopic examination.

Who will perform the exam?
The exam may be performed by a physician, usually a radiologist or an urologist, or a sonographer. When a sonographer performs the examination, the study will then be interpreted by a radiologist. The findings will be reported to your referring doctor.

Is specific preparation required?
For some patients, an enema is used as a routine preparation for ultrasound for the prostate. If a biopsy is required, you may be given antibiotics by mouth or by injection before and after the procedure. Be sure to inform your doctor of any medications you are currently taking and if you are allergic to any medications.

Will it hurt?
If no biopsy is required, ultrasound examination of the prostate is similar in discomfort to a rectal examination performed by your doctor. If a biopsy is performed, additional discomfort, due to the needle insertion, is usually minimal because the rectal wall is relatively insensitive in the region of the prostate.

How long will it take?
The amount of time will vary, depending on the reason for your examination, the need for biopsy, and how your prostate appears on ultrasound. The ultrasound scan takes less than 20 minutes to perform, while the procedure may take up to 45 minutes if biopsy is required.

How will I feel after the examination?
As after any rectal examination, you may experience some mucous discharge or minimal bleeding from your rectum, especially if you have hemorrhoids. In the case of biopsy, many patients will have a small amount of blood in the stool, urine, or semen after the procedure.


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