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Prostate Ultrasound

A prostate problem can be a major health issue. It is diagnosed by a digital rectal exam or a blood test called a PSA (prostate-specific antigen). Your healthcare provider may suggest that you have an ultrasound. This imaging test, along with a biopsy (tissue sample), helps your healthcare provider find cancer early. This is when it’s more likely to be treatable.

Man lying on back on exam table with knees bent. Healthcare provider is sitting next to exam table with ultrasound machine. Closeup of prostate ultrasound with circle around abnormality.

What Ultrasound Reveals

Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves. This creates an image of the prostate gland. It helps your healthcare provider view abnormalities in the gland.

How Ultrasound Is Done

The ultrasound test is simple. It’s often done in your healthcare provider's office. It usually takes less than 15 minutes. You may be asked to use an enema or suppository before the test to clear your rectum. If a biopsy may be done, you’ll be given antibiotics both before and after the test.

Creating the Image

You’ll lie on your side or with your feet in stirrups. A tubelike probe barely bigger than a thumb is covered with a condom. Your healthcare provider gently inserts the probe into your rectum. The probe emits sound waves. This creates an image of your prostate on a video screen. Your healthcare provider views the image. He or she looks at the size, shape, and structure of your prostate.

© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.