A small amount of bleeding from the rectum for two to three days following a transrectal prostate biopsy is common, according to WebMD. Individuals should consult with their doctors only if the bleeding is heavy, is longer than three days in duration or there is an increase in pain.
In a transrectal biopsy, the most common procedure used, tissue samples are taken from the prostate gland using a thin needle inserted into the rectum that is typically guided by a transrectal ultrasound, explains WebMD. A spring-loaded needle removes up to 12 tissue samples from different locations in the prostate gland. The urologist may instead opt to use a needle attached to her finger to reach the prostate through the rectum and gather tissue samples manually. The procedure generally lasts 30 minutes.
Prostate biopsies are performed as additional diagnostic measures to detect cancer when a rectal examination indicates the presence of a lump or when elevated prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, levels are revealed by a blood test designed to test for the presence of prostate cancer, notes WebMD. A pathologist analyzes the excised tissue samples, and the results are usually available within 10 days. Normal biopsy results do not necessarily indicate the absence of cancer. Because such a small sample of tissue is taken, cancer cells may be missed.