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Transrectal ultrasound scan (TRUS)

A transrectal ultrasound scan (TRUS) is an examination of the prostate gland using ultrasound.

What is it

Ultrasound scans use high frequency sound waves to create a picture of a part of the body. A prostate ultrasound scan shows up changes in your prostate, including abnormal growths.

The ultrasound scanner has a microphone that gives off sound waves. The sound waves bounce off the organs inside your body, and the microphone picks them up. The microphone links to a computer. This turns the sound waves into a picture on the screen.

Preparing for the scan

You usually have this scan in the hospital x-ray department.

You need to make sure your bowel is empty when you go for your appointment. You might need to have an enema to empty your bowel. An enema is a liquid that you put into your back passage (rectum). Or you might have a liquid medicine to swallow the day before. You need to stay close to a toilet for a few hours after taking the medicine.

Check your appointment letter to find out how to prepare for your scan.

What happens

When you arrive at the department a staff member asks you to take your lower clothes off and change into a hospital gown.

You lie down on the scan table.

Your doctor puts a small ultrasound probe into your back passage. They use a cold lubricating gel. The gel makes it easier for the probe to move around.

Transrectal ultrasound diagram

The probe produces sound waves to create a clear picture of the prostate gland. This test is uncomfortable but shouldn't hurt. It doesn’t take long.

After the scan

You can get dressed and should be able to go home straight away.

Transrectal ultrasounds can often help to show the prostate more clearly when doctors take samples of tissue (biopsies) from the prostate gland. Your doctor will tell you if you are having an ultrasound guided biopsy.

Getting your results

Waiting for results can make you anxious. You can ask your doctor or nurse how long it will take to get the results. Contact the doctor who arranged the test if you haven't heard anything after a couple of weeks. It might help to talk to a close friend or relative about how you feel.

You can also contact the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040. The lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Possible risks

Ultrasound scans are very safe procedures. You may have slight soreness in the back passage for a couple of days.

Information and help

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