What is a Transrectal Ultrasound?
Transrectal Ultrasound (TRUS) is also known as a prostate sonogram or endorectal ultrasound. It is an examination of the prostate and the surrounding tissues. An ultrasound of the prostate has many advantages over other imaging techniques, such as x-rays. TRUS uses sound waves so there is no risk of ionizing radiation and it provides a clear view of soft tissues in real time. TRUS can help detect abnormalities in size and shape of the prostate. It can also be used to take a biopsy, or deliver treatments in the prostate area.
The doctor may recommend you for a TRUS if your prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level is high, or the doctor feels abnormal areas during a digital rectal exam (DRE).
Transrectal Ultrasound Can Help Diagnose:
- Prostate cancer
- Causes of infertility problems, such as cysts
- Causes of difficulty or pain when urinating
- Any abnormalities in the prostate
- Any disorders of the prostate such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
- Inflammation or infection of prostate
What to Expect
TRUS is a same-day procedure and usually takes about 15-30 minutes. Some special preparations are required. If you take blood-thinning medications, you will be asked to stop taking them 7-10 days before the test. An enema will be done 1-4 hours before the procedure to clear the colon and rectum. Your bladder must be empty before the procedure.
You will then be asked to lie on your side, and your knees bent towards your chest. These precautions are taken because an ultrasound probe (or ultrasound transducer) is inserted into the rectum to check the prostate. It is the easiest to access the prostate through this method. The probe is about the size of a finger and is covered and lubricated. The procedure is relatively comfortable.
You may resume your daily activities after the procedure. Very rarely, you may see a small amount of blood in the sperm or urine.
Routine Screening for Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in males. Age is the strongest risk factor for prostate cancer. Your risk increases starting at age 50, and most cases are diagnosed in men over the age of 65. It is recommended that men between the ages of 55 to 69 years have routine screening for prostate cancer.