A new piece of technology used by urologists with the Hartford HealthCare Tallwood Urology & Kidney Institute will make prostate biopsies easier for both the patient and the physician. The technology, in use by Tallwood urologists across the system, was recently added in the East Region.
Called the PrecisionPoint™ Transperineal Access System, the technology allows the urologist to more thoroughly sample all regions of the prostate including those difficult to access with the traditional transrectal approach. Since the technique is free hand, the practitioner can easily target the desired locations with certainty through a single puncture of the skin.
In this method, called transperineal biopsy, the urologist passes the biopsy needle through the perineal skin (the area between the anus and the scrotum) and into the prostate, rather than passing the biopsy needle through a potentially contaminated rectum. The biopsy needle is still guided by an ultrasound placed in the rectum.
“The biggest benefit clinically is we are greatly reducing the risk of infection to the patient,” said Brandon Stahl, MD. “The other benefit is that we can now reach all areas of the prostate, whereas with the transrectal method, we could really only access the lower half of the prostate. This gives us a much more complete biopsy and minimizes the risk of missing cancer cells.”
The procedure is done in the hospital operating room, under light anesthesia, on an outpatient basis. It takes about 25 minutes, and similar to having a colonoscopy, the patient would need a ride home afterwards.
“This is really fantastic technology,” Stahl said. “We can get exactly where we want to be in the prostate, it’s easier on the patient (compared to traditional trans-perineal biopsies), infection rates are down and detection rates are up.”