Prostate ultrasound machines can show pictures of a male patient’s prostate gland. The procedure usually involves the insertion of a probe into the individual’s rectum. The probe will send and receive sound vibrations through the rectal wall right into the prostate gland, since it is located just in front of the rectum. The images presented will then give doctors a clear idea about the current condition and if further tests or treatment is necessary.
A transrectal ultrasound involving the prostate gland is done to check for present disorders in the organ, to determine if the prostate gland is enlarged, to determine the cause of infertility among male patients and to detect abnormal growths in the prostate. Measurements will be acquired depending on the requirements of the treatment plan.
Symptoms can be diagnosed such as difficulty in urination, nodule felt by the doctor during routine physical check-up or during prostate cancer screening exam and elevation in blood test results. Needle biopsies can also be guided effectively by ultrasound since it provides real-time images. Biopsy is a procedure wherein sample tissues or cells are acquired from the prostate gland for future lab tests.
Preparations and Expectations
To prepare for prostate ultrasound machines, you have to wear loose-fitting and comfortable clothes. You will be asked to take off clothing, jewelry and other materials that are covering the area that needs to be tested. You may wear a gown too during the process. An enema is taken 2 to 4 hours prior to the test to ensure that your bowel is clean. The doctor will also ask you to drink 4 to 6 glasses of water before the test, since a full bladder better visualizes the prostate gland.
The equipment looks like a console with computer and electronics. There is a video display screen and transducer that will scan the blood vessels and organs. The transducer is similar to a microphone that sends out sound waves and listens for echoes returning to depict a clear image of the prostate. The device is covered and lubricated during both transrectal and transvaginal tests, since it has to be inserted.
During the Test
A disposable protective covering will be put over the transducer. Afterwards, it will be lubricated then inserted into the rectum. The presenting images will be acquired using different angles to get the clearest picture of the prostate gland. Prostate ultrasound usually requires the patient to lie on his or her left side with the knees bent slightly up.
If biopsy is also done during lesion detection, a needle will be advanced into the prostate gland. The radiologist checks the ultrasound machine to ensure that the needle is placed properly into the gland. Some tissue will be taken to be examined under the microscope. Once the diagnostic test is complete, you can dress up and wait for the radiologist and physician to review the findings. You can also walk out of the clinic instantly. The entire examination will take only about 20 minutes.
Most ultrasound machines are quick, easy and painless. You may feel slight discomfort as the transducer is inserted into your rectum. The lubrication will ease the pressure and friction. If a biopsy is done, added discomfort or mild pain may be felt by the patient since the wall of the rectum is usually insensitive near the prostate. You can resume regular activities afterwards.