What are the risks of a prostate biopsy?

A prostate biopsy may be uncomfortable and painful. The degree of pain and discomfort varies from patient to patient. While some men experience only moderate pain, other men may find a biopsy very painful. Some men continue to have pain in their rectum for some time after the biopsy.
Other risks associated with a prostate biopsy include:

  • Rectal bleeding and blood in your stools is common and is caused by bleeding at the biopsy site. Blood in your stools may persist for about 2 weeks.
  • Blood in your urine is also common and may persist for about 2 weeks.
  • Blood in your semen. It's common to notice red or rust colouring in your semen after a prostate biopsy caused by blood in the semen. This may persist for a few weeks after the biopsy.
  • Difficulty urinating. In some men, prostate biopsy can cause difficulty urinating after the procedure. Sometimes a temporary urinary catheter must be inserted.
  • Infection. Men who have a prostate biopsy can develop an infection of the urinary tract or prostate that requires treatment with antibiotics and sometimes hospitalisation.

Read more about your options when you have an elevated PSA

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Editorial Board

Prof. David Crawford
Prof. E. David Crawford
University of Colorado, Denver, CO, USA
Prof. Alexandre de la Taille
Prof. Alexandre de la Taille
CHU Mondor, Assistance Publique des Hopitaux de Paris, Créteil, France
Dr. Giorgio Gandaglia
Dr. Giorgio Gandaglia
Department of Urology, San Raffaele Hospital, Milan, Italy
Prof. Christian Stief
Prof. Christian Stief
Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany
Dr. Inge van Oort
Dr. Inge van Oort
Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands