Anaesthesia in transrectal prostate biopsy: Which is the most effective technique?

Carmen MacCagnano, Vincenzo Scattoni, Marco Roscigno, Marco Raber, Diego Angiolilli, Francesco Montorsi, Patrizio Rigatti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Prostate biopsy (PBx) techniques have changed significantly since the original Hodge's scheme, with an increase in the number and location of cores. These improvements have been realized in part because of the introduction of different local anaesthesia techniques. We critically analysed the literature discussing the role of anaesthesia techniques for use during PBx to find which technique provides the best pain relief for the patient and safety for the urologist. Methods: We performed a literature review by searching the Medline database for articles published between January 2000 and March 2010. Electronic searches were limited to the keywords 'transrectal prostate biopsy' and 'anaesthesia'. Results: Pain and discomfort perceived during PBx are the result of different anatomic factors: the introduction to and movement of the transrectal ultrasound probe in the rectum and the needle piercing the rectum and the prostate capsule. The anaesthesia techniques currently available can be divided into two groups: local (i.e. intrarectal lubricant agents, periprostatic nerve blocks, caudal blocks, pudendal nerve blocks, and their different combinations) and systemic (i.e. oral/intravenous drug administration and sedoanalgesia). Conclusions: The most effective anaesthesia technique for transrectal PBx performed in outpatient settings is the periprostatic nerve blocks with 1 or 2% lidocaine 10 ml, which is associated with intrarectal lubricant agents, especially in younger people. Nevertheless, the current choice of the anaesthesia technique still depends both on patient characteristics (age, prostate size, number and location of cores, anxious personality, need for re-biopsy) and, above all, the urologist's experience and habits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalUrologia Internationalis
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


  • Anaesthesia
  • Prostate biopsy
  • Transrectal ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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