Trans rectal ultrasound scan biopsy

Doctors use a TRUS biopsy test to diagnose prostate cancer. They take samples of tissue from the prostate gland to look for cancer cells.

What is a trans-rectal ultrasound scan (TRUS) biopsy?

If a rectal examination and PSA tests show there is a possibility of prostate cancer, you may have a biopsy.

Your doctor may offer you a type of biopsy called a trans-rectal ultrasound scan (TRUS) biopsy. They use an ultrasound probe that goes into the back passage (rectum) to help guide them when removing samples of prostate tissue (biopsies). A doctor called a pathologist looks at the samples under the microscope to check for cancer.

Your doctor or nurse will talk to you about the benefits and disadvantages of having a TRUS biopsy. They will explain the possible risks, such as infection. You may be given antibiotics to take before the biopsy and after it.

Having the biopsy

You lie on your side with your knees pulled up to your chest. Before they take the biopsy the doctor gives you a local anaesthetic into the area of your back passage (rectal) to numb it. This reduces any pain or discomfort.

They then gently pass a small ultrasound probe into the rectum using lubricating gel. The ultrasound shows an image of the prostate gland. This helps the doctor guide a needle along the probe and into the prostate gland to take the biopsies. The doctor usually takes 10 to 18 small samples of tissue.


TRUS - transrectal ultrasound guided biopsy
Image: TRUS - transrectal ultrasound guided biopsy

What to expect after the biopsy

When you go home, it is important to follow the advice your doctor or nurse gave you.

For 24 hours after the test, it is important to drink plenty of fluids. Make sure you take any antibiotics you have been given.

You may have a small amount of blood in your pee for up to 2 weeks and also have blood in your poo. There may also be blood in your semen for up to a few weeks. If these symptoms do not go away, speak to your doctor.

Drink plenty of fluids like water to help reduce the risk of a urine infection. See your GP if have pain peeing or your pee is cloudy or smelly.

Contact a doctor straight away if you:

  • have a lot of bleeding
  • feel shivery with a temperature over 37.5°C (99.5°F)
  • have problems peeing even though you are drinking lots.

If you receive anal sex, you should avoid this for a few weeks until the biopsy area has healed. Talk to your doctor or specialist nurse if you need more advice.

About our information

  • Reviewers

    This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Senior Medical Editors, Dr Jim Barber, Consultant Clinical Oncologist and Dr Ursula McGovern, Consultant Medical Oncologist.

    Our cancer information has been awarded the PIF TICK. Created by the Patient Information Forum, this quality mark shows we meet PIF’s 10 criteria for trustworthy health information.

The language we use

We want everyone affected by cancer to feel our information is written for them.

We try to make sure our information is as clear as possible. We use plain English, avoid jargon, explain any medical words, use illustrations to explain text, and make sure important points are highlighted clearly.

We use gender-inclusive language and talk to our readers as ‘you’ so that everyone feels included. Where clinically necessary we use the terms ‘men’ and ‘women’ or ‘male’ and ‘female’. For example, we do so when talking about parts of the body or mentioning statistics or research about who is affected. Our aims are for our information to be as clear and relevant as possible for everyone.

You can read more about how we produce our information here.