Prostate Ultrasound

Transrectal Ultrasound allows the Radiologist to closely examine the prostate gland for abnormalities. At certain times, multiple biopsies of the prostate gland may be performed to examine for any evidence of cancer or inflammation.

Sometimes Transrectal Ultrasound of the prostate is used to diagnose the cause of male infertility.

Preparation for Your Exam

For the transrectal prostate exam, a "Fleet" enema should be taken about four hours before the exam. This preparation with instructions can be bought from your local pharmacy. If a biopsy is going to be performed, as it usually will be, your doctor will give you some antibiotics and instructions when to take them.

During the Exam:

How is the exam performed?

An Ultrasound transducer about the size of a finger is placed into the rectum and the prostate is scanned.

How long will the prostate exam take?

A prostate exam with or without the biopsy will take about 15 to 25 minutes.

What happens in the Ultrasound room?

After changing into hospital garb you will be escorted into the Ultrasound exam room. You will be asked to lie on a table on your left side with your knees bent. A transducer will be carefully inserted into your rectum by the sonographer or Radiologist. Pictures and measurements of the prostate will then be taken. If a biopsy is to be performed either the Urologist or the Radiologist will then take between six to eight biopsies. A small needle is inserted very rapidly into the prostate gland. The tissue will be sent to the Pathology department for preparation.

Will it Hurt?

Yes, but not very much and not as much as most people think. The prostate is not very sensitive to the biopsy needle. The vast majority of men tolerate the procedure very well -- typically the anxiety they experience prior to the biopsy is considerably worse than the biopsy itself.

After the Exam

You may experience some mucous or a small amount of bleeding from your rectum after the prostate exam. There may be some minor discomfort after a biopsy and some small amount of blood in the urine or rectum for up to 48 hours. Blood in the semen is also common. These are not cause for concern if the amounts are small.

Getting Your Results

The results of the Prostate Ultrasound will be available to your doctor on the day following your exam. Biopsy results are generally several days after the procedure. Please call your Urologist for the results of the biopsy.

Making an Appointment

When you call, we'll ask you for basic information such as your Social Security number. We'll ask you what type of test you need to schedule, and will schedule you for the best possible time. If you need to reschedule your exam, you can call us back and we'll be happy to arrange a better time for you.

When you call to schedule your exam, we'll also give you important information about preparing for the exam. If your doctor has scheduled the exam for you, and you have questions regarding the preparation or the procedure itself, you can call the imaging department where your procedure is being performed (please refer to our 'Locations' page for exact phone numbers).

Your physician will have several tasks to perform:

Complete the necessary paperwork to order the test (similar to writing a prescription for medication)

Fax, mail, or place the order in our computer system

Call us to schedule a test for you or have your physician call us directly

Obtaining Your Images

Exam Image Availability

DRC's state-of-the-art PACS technology offers you immediate access to the images of your radiologic exam. No longer does your physician have to wait to have copies of your films made. Although we can still print your X-ray on film for you with just 24 hours notice, your physician can now review your exam images immediately via the Internet. We offer safe and secure web access for your physician through Specialty Networks. Your privacy and HIPAA compliance is assured.

Images on a CD

If your physician prefers, the digital images from your study can be written to a CD-ROM, giving him/her a permanent record that can be accessed easily and quickly via a computer. CDs hold multiple studies and take up significantly less space than the traditional film in the brown envelope. A 24-hour notice is also requested to create this digital record for you.

Versatile Image Viewing Options

Internet access to your studies for your doctor is available immediately after your pictures are taken. Copies of your images can be obtained on a CD or on film with 24 hours notice.

Both Internet and CD viewing offer your physician the ability to digitally adjust your images in ways not possible with traditional X-ray film. Using the computer, the image can be made lighter or darker or zoomed for better visualization of a particular portion, for example. Your physician can fine-tune the images to accommodate his or her preferences.

Obtaining Copies of Your Images

To receive a CD or film copies of exam images, please follow these steps:

1. Call the location where your examination was performed (please refer to the locations page). Please provide your name and other identifying information along with the study being requested. With 24 hours notice, we can either create a CD-ROM or print a film for you. Our representative at the imaging center will provide you with the times available to pick up the exam.

2. To protect your privacy, please be sure to bring a picture ID when you pick up your CD/films, you will have to sign a Medical Images Release form when receiving your CD/films. If anyone else picks up your CD/films for you, please be sure to give him or her your written authorization to release your information to him or her.

3. If you would like us to send a copy of your study to a physician outside the DRC system, we will need a signed release from you along with the study you would like sent and the receiving doctor's name and address. You can fax or deliver us that release in the form of a signed letter at the fax number listed on the locations page. Please allow us plenty of time to send your films.

Any Costs

Currently the first set of films is provided at no cost to the patient. There is no charge for CD-ROM's and, of course, the Internet is always free.