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J Urol. 2004 Apr;171(4):1478-80; discussion 1480-1.

Complication rate of transrectal ultrasound guided prostate biopsy: a comparison among 3 protocols with 6, 10 and 15 cores.

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  • 1Department of Urology and Pathology, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.



We assessed the complication rate of ultrasound guided prostate biopsies performed at a single center in a screening population. Moreover the impact of different biopsy protocols comprising varying numbers of biopsy cores on the complication rate was evaluated.


A total of 5957 biopsies performed in 4303 clinically healthy men between January 1993 and August 2002 was evaluated retrospectively. Due to changes in the biopsy protocol, the number of biopsies obtained increased with time from 6 cores (January 1993 to October 1995) to 10 (November 1995 to March 2000) to 15 cores (March 2000 to August 2002).


Minor complications such as hematospermia (36.3%), hematuria (14.5%) and rectal bleeding persisting for up to 2 days (2.3%) were noted frequently, while major complications requiring further treatment were far less common. Post-biopsy fever was seen in 48 patients (0.8%), rectal bleeding requiring surgical intervention or persisting for more than 2 days occurred in 36 patients (0.6%) and urinary retention was observed in 12 patients (0.2%). The increase in biopsy cores with time did not result in increased post-biopsy morbidity. Prostate cancer at biopsy was not associated with a higher complication rate.


Prostate specific antigen screening has led to an increase in the number of patients undergoing prostate biopsy which, in turn, has increased the incidence of post-biopsy complications. However, most of the complications are minor and self-limiting. In this large study population the increased number of biopsy cores did not result in an increased incidence of major post-biopsy complications.

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