If a potential prostate problem is identified through a digital rectal exam or a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test, your doctor may suggest that you have an ultrasound. This imaging technique, possibly along with a biopsy (tissue sample), helps your doctor discover cancer early, when it's more likely to be treatable.
What Ultrasound Reveals
Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the prostate gland. This can help your doctor identify abnormalities in the gland.
How Ultrasound Is Done
The ultrasound test is simple and is often done in your doctor's office. It usually takes less than 15minutes. To clear your rectum, you may be asked to use an enema or suppository beforehand. 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 doctor gently inserts the probe into your rectum. The probe emits sound waves, creating an image of your prostate on a video screen. Your doctor views the image, looking at the size, shape, and structure of your prostate.