What is Saturation biopsies of the prostate?
These are specialised biopsies of the prostate gland usually taken under a general anaesthetic as a day case procedure. They differ from standard transrectal ultrasound guided biopsies of the prostate (TRUSBX) which are carried out under local anaesthesia or sedation. Both are carried out to diagnose prostate cancer.
The indications for saturation biopsies are if the standard TRUSBX has not shown any cancer but the surgeon remains concerned that there may still be a cancer present either because the PSA (blood test) remains high or abnormal pre-cancerous changes are seen in the standard biopsies.
Saturation biopsies are carried out either through the rectum (transrectal) or through the skin between the anus and scrotum (transperineal). They involve taking between 24-30 needle biopsies whereas standard TRUSBX take 10-12 biopsies. Specialist equipment is required for this procedure.
What are the side effects?
Side effects include infection and some bleeding in the urine after the procedure but these are usually self-limiting.
Author: Mr Raj Nigam, Consultant Urological Surgeon at BMI Mount Alvernia Hospital