The prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system. It is about the size and shape of a walnut and weighs about one ounce. The prostate is located between the bladder and the rectum. The prostate surrounds the urethra, a tube that carries urine from the bladder out through the penis. The main function of the prostate gland is to produce fluid for semen.
Many diseases and conditions involve the prostate gland, including structural abnormalities, infection, hypertrophy (enlargement) and cancer. Ultrasound images are used together with a physical examination and blood tests to identify these diseases or conditions.
Because your prostate gland is located immediately in front of your rectum, the transducer is covered with a condom, lubricated and placed into your rectum. The sound will be required to travel only a short distance to your prostate, and this results in a high-resolution, or good-quality, picture. The room in which the ultrasound exam is performed is usually darkened so that the images on the monitor can be seen clearly.
A radiologist or a specially trained person called a sonographer performs the exam. When a sonographer performs the examination, a doctor will interpret the results of the exam. The findings will be reported to the doctor who referred you for the exam.
No special preparation is required.
Ultrasound examination of your prostate is similar in discomfort to a rectal examination performed by your doctor.
The ultrasound exam or scan usually takes less than 20 minutes to perform.