The association of level of practical experience in transrectal ultrasonography guided prostate biopsy with its diagnostic outcome

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The diagnostic yield of transrectal ultrasonography (TRUS) guided prostate biopsy is influenced by many patient and procedure specific factors. However, the role of operator specific factors remains inadequately defined. This study investigated the association of diagnostic outcome of TRUS guided biopsy with operator skill level.


This study looked at a consecutive cohort of 690 men undergoing their first extended pattern TRUS guided prostate biopsy by 27 operators over a 24-month period in a single institution. Logistic regression was used for statistical analysis.


Biopsies performed by consultants (odds ratio [OR]: 2.35, p=0.004) and senior trainees (OR: 2.37, p=0.002) in patients with prostate specific antigen levels of <10ng/ml were more likely to be positive than those performed by junior trainees (cancer detection rate 50.0%, 50.3% and 29.9% respectively). Furthermore, biopsies performed by junior trainees yielded a significantly higher proportion of prostate cancers with a Gleason score of ≥3+4 than those performed by senior trainees (OR: 2.11, p=0.031) and consultants (OR: 2.40, p=0.013) (81.4%, 67.5% and 64.6% respectively). No significant differences emerged between operator skill groups for complications, rebiopsy rates or the number of prostate cancers found during the follow-up period (median: 34 months) of patients with a negative biopsy.


Level of operator experience is associated with the diagnostic outcome of extended pattern TRUS guided biopsy. The findings of this study imply that case selection, self-audit and expert supervision for the duration of the learning curve should form the basis of biopsy training.

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