- When a urologist does a prostate biospy, a ultrasound probe goes into the rectum much like a finger does to examine the prostate.
- So when a doctor examines the prostate he is feeling the prostate through the rectal mucosa.
- So when the biopsy is performed, the needle goes from the ultrasound probe, through the rectal mucosa and then into the prostate.
- Needles into organs, and tissues etc for some reason are very well tolerated by the human body, hence biopsies being done with consequence….usually…..I had to admit a gentleman this week for hematuria after a prostate biopsy. The first time in almost a year. He’d been on aspirin, which he’d stopped for a week, and that apparently was not long enough.
- So “Doc, I just had a colonoscopy, didn’t that check my prostate?” I think….”Good try my good fellow, but that ain’t gettin you off the hook for a rectal exam.” ” No sir…that sees the rectal mucosa that covers the prostate. It doesn’t see or feel or examine the prostate. Just the rectal mucosa. Different organ, different system, different kind of doctor, different instrument….unrelated but very good try.”
- So, the needle goes through the dirty ole rectum, through its mucosa, through the space (in and about Denonvilliers), and then into the prostate and then back out before the small specimen is deposited into the formalin.
- This is repeated usually twelve times…some times more depending on the number of biopsies the urologist has elected to do.
- Well…maybe 5% of the time the body will get an infection from this. Usually a bladder infection, particularly if the patient has some underlying prostate symptoms, but sometimes bacteria from the rectum gets into the blood stream (bacteremia) and this is a medical emergency of sorts and often requires admission and I.V. antibiotics.
- More commonly, secondary to the trauma to the area and the “spaces that separate the prostate and the rectum” there is an inflammatory response of the body to “heal” the area after the biopsy. This inflammation response varies and can be minimal or dramatic.
- This in turn affects the tissue plane between the rectum (we don’t like hearing talk of rectum when removing a prostate) and the prostate.
- Surgeons love pristine undisturbed tissue planes. (That is why you don’t often of urologist removing a prostate after radiation. It messes up that tissue plane related to Denonvilliers and wreck havoc on the dissection and increases the likelihood of “dissecting into the rectum” a surgical nightmare.
- We speak of not having a tissue plane as scarred, adherent, or “dissecting through concrete.”
- It is very deflating to a surgeon to have a patient under anesthesia and it is determined that the dissection will be difficult because of the above. A one hour procedure can turn into a three-hour one, and with increased chances of complications.
- So…back to the question ….’Why do I have to wait 6 wks to 3 months to have my prostate out?”
- Because we are waiting for the inflammatory response of the body in and about Denonvilliers fasia to subside and make our job easier to remove the prostate.
- Since prostate cancer is a “slow-growing ” cancer usually….the time delay is of no medical consequence.
- The diagrams below show the space and how it is possible that in removing the prostate one could get into the “wrong space” particularly if it is adherent, and then enter the rectum. That is bad, because all the bacteria in the rectum is now in the area of prostate. Man what a mess. Knock on wood….this has not happened to me….yet.
And this (the above) is just one of the things going through the heads of your caregivers while they are trying to help you navigate the prostate cancer decision-making process. And why I say the “surfing the net” and making “goining it alone” decision doesn’t offer the depth of texture necessary for a decision customized to you.
My advice…sap everybody and everything with a discerning eye before your “Decision.”