Biopsy result accuracy

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Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2016 2:21 pm

Biopsy result accuracy

Postby Carlos » Tue Jul 05, 2016 2:32 pm

I can't see how a biopsy can be reliable at all considering the size of the needle and the relative size of the Prostate. Does anyone know of any statistics to show or despute this?

Posts: 21
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2016 2:40 pm

Re: Biopsy result accuracy

Postby professoreden » Tue Jul 05, 2016 9:25 pm


A biopsy is only a sample and, as you point out, can be inaccurate if it fails to represent the whole organ. This is called sampling error. The larger the prostate, the greater the possibility of sampling error (think needle and haystack). Sampling error can be reduced in a number of ways: taking more biopsies, using a standardised template or grid to guide the biopsies to ensure full coverage, and using some form of imaging (usually an MRI scan) to guide the biopsy needle into the area that looks the most abnormal. Biopsies can also be repeated after a period of time if other parameters, such as PSA, the rectal examination or the MRI scan appearance, change.

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