During a prostate biopsy test, a doctor inserts a thin needle into the rectum, between the scrotum and anus, or through the urethra and extracts prostate tissue for microscopic testing, says WebMD. Either local or general anesthesia may be used for this procedure.
Depending upon whether the patient receives local or general anesthesia, the physician explains precautions and preparation requirements for the test, states WebMD. Use of a general anesthetic requires fasting in the hours before the procedure. In addition, the patient should only take the medications the doctor authorizes, with only a small amount of water when fasting. Failure to follow preparation instructions can result in cancellation.
After signing a consent form for treatment at the office, the patient receives anesthesia through an intravenous line, states WebMD. The most common type of prostate biopsy test is transrectal, a procedure lasting about 30 minutes. A transrectal ultrasound typically guides the thin needle to the right location, with six to 12 samples of tissue taken by the spring-loaded needle. Transrectal biopsy also requires an enema before the procedure.
Biopsied tissue goes to the lab for examination, says WebMD. Microscopic exam helps determine the cause of high levels of PSA, prostate-specific antigen. Also, this exam helps determine whether lumps found on the prostate are cancerous.