• Prostatic biopsy;
  • antibiotic prophylaxis;
  • septicaemia


To determine the frequency and severity of complications following transrectal ultrasonography (TRUS) guided prostatic biopsy, and of pain during the procedure.

Patients and methods

The study included 129 men undergoing TRUS-guided prostatic biopsy who were asked to complete a questionnaire about pain and complications one week after biopsy.


Of the 104 men who completed the questionnaire, 24% found the procedure moderately to extremely painful and 19% felt that they had had significant complications afterward, the commonest of these being painful or difficult voiding (13%) and haematuria (11%). Systemic symptoms of fever or ‘sweats’ occurred in 6%, with a diagnosis of septicaemia in three men, despite antibiotic prophylaxis. However, acute urinary retention occurred in only one man. Of all patients, 20% saw their general practitioner within a week, all of whom were prescribed antibiotics in addition to those given prophylactically in hospital.


TRUS-guided biopsy is often a painful experience for patients and is commonly associated with complications, particularly voiding difficulties. Of particular concern were the three patients with septicaemia, and that one in five men felt sufficiently unwell to visit their doctor within a week of the procedure.