Transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) uses high-energy sound waves to create images of organs and tissues. Providers use TRUS to diagnose and treat prostate conditions. TRUS can also help diagnose cysts, infertility and tumors. Providers often combine needle biopsy with TRUS. This procedure usually takes 15 to 30 minutes and you can go home the same day.
Ultrasound is a minimally invasive procedure that uses sound waves to look at organs and tissues. Healthcare providers often use transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) to examine the prostate gland in men or people assigned male at birth (AMAB). They sometimes also use TRUS to look at the pelvic and reproductive organs in women or people assigned female at birth (AFAB).
During a transrectal ultrasound, your healthcare provider inserts a probe into your rectum. This probe gives off high-energy sound waves. These waves (echoes) travel through your rectum and bounce off other organs and tissues. The echoes create computerized images that your provider can see on a video screen.
Other names for a transrectal ultrasound include:
Healthcare providers may use a transrectal ultrasound if you have:
Providers use a transrectal ultrasound to diagnose prostate conditions. They can use it to take tissue from your prostate and examine it more closely to understand the cause of a prostate concern. They can also treat some prostate conditions through TRUS.
A transrectal ultrasound lets healthcare providers look at:
Providers may also use a transrectal ultrasound to diagnose conditions of the reproductive organs.
Health providers may use a transrectal ultrasound to obtain tissue samples (needle biopsy). These samples can help them diagnose:
A transrectal ultrasound allows physicians to treat:
Before a transrectal ultrasound, your provider will ask about your health history. Let them know if you have any:
Also, tell your provider if you typically take antibiotics before a surgical procedure.
Your provider will give you specific instructions. For example, they may ask you to:
Your provider may also ask you to have an enema one to four hours before TRUS. An enema helps clear out your colon and rectum. They may ask you to urinate (pee) to empty your bladder before the procedure.
On the day of your transrectal ultrasound, you should wear comfortable clothing. You may need to remove some of your clothing or wear a hospital gown during the procedure.
During the transrectal ultrasound:
A transrectal ultrasound usually takes less than 30 minutes.
Your provider may take a sample of tissue during the transrectal ultrasound (needle biopsy). Providers most commonly use needle biopsies on your prostate. Depending on your sex assigned at birth and other health concerns, they may take tissue samples from other organs, such as your cervix.
If physicians take a prostate biopsy, they’ll:
After a transrectal ultrasound, you can go home the same day. You may be able to drive yourself home after the procedure but check with your provider to find out if you need a driver.
Your provider will give you follow-up instructions. You may need to:
If you have a biopsy during TRUS, your provider will send the biopsy to a lab for analysis. When the results are back, your provider will contact you to set up an appointment or talk about them.
Providers consider transrectal ultrasounds minimally invasive and safe. They:
There are no known risks or complications of transrectal ultrasound. If you have a biopsy along with TRUS, your physician will discuss any potential complications. They may include brief periods of:
Your recovery after a transrectal ultrasound is usually very short. Most people don’t have any side effects after the procedure. If you have rectal pain, you can try soaking in a warm bath.
If you have a biopsy during TRUS, a full recovery may take a few weeks or more.
If you have a transrectal ultrasound without a biopsy, you can usually return to your normal activities right away. If you have a biopsy during TRUS, you may need to wait a few days to go back to your normal activities.
After a transrectal ultrasound, you can eat your regular diet. Try to drink six to eight glasses of water a day for at least three days to keep your urinary system clear.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any of these symptoms after your surgery:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) uses sound waves to look at organs and tissues. These sound waves (echoes) travel through your rectum and produce images on a screen. Healthcare providers often use TRUS to diagnose and treat prostate conditions or problems with the female reproductive organs. Providers may do a needle biopsy during transrectal ultrasound. TRUS is quick and very low-risk. Recovery is usually fast but depends on the purpose of the TRUS and whether your provider completes other treatments at the same time.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/25/2022.
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