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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Prostate biopsy

Whakamātaunga kiko o te repe tātea

A prostate biopsy involves taking tiny samples of tissue from your prostate gland. The tissue samples are then examined under a microscope to look for cancer cells.

Your doctor may organise a prostate biopsy to check for or rule out prostate cancer:

A prostate biopsy is usually safe and has minimal side effects. There is a slight risk of developing an infection from a prostate biopsy, and in rare cases this can be severe. You can have some bleeding after the procedure, but this is usually mild and goes away by itself. In very rare cases, life-threatening bleeding can occur.

Before the procedure

When you arrive at your appointment, you'll be given an injection of an antibiotic into your thigh muscle. The antibiotic will reduce your risk of getting an infection.

During the procedure

Your surgeon will give you a local anaesthetic to make the procedure more comfortable. Most people only experience mild discomfort. The procedure takes about five to 10 minutes.

During the procedure, your surgeon will ask you to lie on your side with your knees pulled to your chest. They will insert an ultrasound probe, about the size of a finger, into your back passage (bottom). A screen will display images from the ultrasound probe. Your surgeon will use the images as a guide to insert a needle through the probe into your prostate gland. They will use the needle to take tissue samples.

After the procedure

You should drink plenty of fluids. You may notice blood in your wee (urine) or when you have a bowel motion for up to a week after the biopsy. Drinking more should help this go away. You can also have blood in your semen for up to six weeks after the biopsy.

You should contact your doctor if you have a fever, have difficulty weeing (urinating) or do not wee, have heavy bleeding with clots or your pain gets worse.

You can go back to doing your usual activities the following day.


If you develop signs of an infection (such as a high fever and shaking) after a prostate biopsy, contact the hospital immediately.


A specialist nurse will phone you with the results from your biopsy within two weeks. The results will show whether you have prostate cancer. The department will also send a copy of the biopsy results to your general practice team.

A negative result for prostate cancer

If the biopsy shows you do not have prostate cancer, you will not need any further follow up with the Urology Department.

Talk to your general practice team about whether you'll need to see them for ongoing prostate checks.

A positive result for prostate cancer

If you have a positive result for cancer, you'll be given an appointment to see a urologist. The urologist will go through your results and explain the treatment options.

You'll be invited to attend a presentation about prostate cancer by the urology nurse specialist. This will be on the same day as your appointment with the urologist or the day before. The presentation will be about the treatment options for prostate cancer.

The Prostate Cancer Outcomes Registry – Australia and New Zealand will also contact you. The registry collects data about the diagnosis, treatment and quality of life of men diagnosed with prostate cancer. The registry's goal is to improve the care and outcomes of men diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Uses information written by Urology Associates, Canterbury Urology Research Trust and Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed July 2022.


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