Ultrasound - Prostate Rectal Sonogram

What is a Prostate / Rectal Sonogram?

A prostate/rectal sonogram is a noninvasive procedure used to determine the size, shape, and location of the prostate gland and to assess the rectum.

A prostate / rectal sonogram uses a transducer that sends out ultrasonic sound waves at a frequency too high to be heard. When the transducer is placed on the skin at certain locations and angles, the ultrasonic sound waves move through the skin and other body tissues to organs and structures within the body. The sound waves bounce off the organs like an echo and return to the transducer. The transducer picks up the reflected waves, which are then converted into an electronic picture of the organs. Different types of body tissues affect the speed at which sound waves travel.

Prior to the procedure, clear gel is applied to the skin to allow for smooth movement of the transducer over the skin and to eliminate air between the skin and the transducer.

Reasons for the Procedure

A prostate / rectal sonogram may be used to determine the size, location, and shape of the prostate gland. A sonogram may be used to examine the prostate gland for cancer. This procedure may be performed after a finding of elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) during a blood test.

Prostate / rectal sonography may also be used to stage rectal cancer, monitor the treatment of rectal cancer, and to assess the rectum for other problems. A prostate / rectal sonogram may be also be performed to assist in placement of needles used to biopsy (obtain a tissue sample) the prostate, or to aid in the placement of radiation “seeds” used to treat prostate cancer. This procedure may also be used to assess blood flow to the prostate or other masses that may be located during the procedure.

Is there any prep for this procedure?

Generally, you will not have to fast before your procedure, but you may be given a small enema prior to your procedure.

During the Procedure

You will be asked to remove any clothing, jewelry, or other objects that may interfere with the procedure and given a gown to wear. Your sonographer will place you on an examination table on your left side with your knees bent up to your chest. He will lubricate the transducer lubricated with a clear gel and insert it into your rectum. You may experience a feeling of fullness of the rectum at this time. The transducer will be rotated slightly several times during the procedure to obtain the best view of the prostate gland. Once the procedure has been completed, the gel will be wiped off.

While the prostate / rectal sonogram procedure itself causes no pain, having to lie still for the length of the procedure may cause slight discomfort. The technologist will use all possible comfort measures and complete the procedure as quickly as possible to minimize any discomfort.