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J Urol. 1998 May;159(5):1568-79.

Transrectal ultrasound of the prostate: innovations and future applications.

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Department of Urology, University Hospital Nijmegen, The Netherlands.



We present a critical evaluation of the use of ultrasound for prostate disease examination in urological practice, and provide perspectives on ultrasound applications that may become important for the future evaluation of prostate problems.


Based on an evaluation of clinical data in cases suspicious for prostatic malignancy, we addressed the apparent shortcomings of transrectal ultrasound for accurately diagnosing prostate cancer. Future applications presented in the literature were noted.


Evaluating the ultrasound data in cases suspicious for malignancy indicated that imaging has little advantage over digital rectal examination for detecting malignant areas. The new applications of ultrasound that hold great promise for use in the urology clinic include the injection of contrast agents to obtain information on blood supply, temperature estimation for the noninvasive assessment of temperature distributions during heat treatment and a therapeutic application for local treatment of prostate cancer.


While differential diagnosis with ultrasound appears to result in disappointing sensitivity and specificity values, its use in volume measurement and biopsy guidance is unquestioned. The development of new applications may improve the clinical value of ultrasound in urological practice. The application of ultrasound contrast agents for the detection and clinical staging of prostate cancer is especially promising. Future research will indicate whether the promise evolves in clinical applications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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