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San leading the way with local anaesthetic for transperineal prostate biopsy

At the San Prostate Centre of Excellence, the use of local anaesthetic instead of general anaesthetic for prostate biopsy is showing excellent results.

General anaesthetic is still the standard in routine 25-minute prostate biopsy. However, as techniques for biopsies have evolved, Professor Henry Woo at the San has introduced the use of local anaesthetic as a replacement to general anaesthetic.

“When we first started performing the infection free technique of transperineal prostate biopsy, they all had to be done under a general anaesthetic,” said Professor Woo. “Now that a technique for performing these procedures with a local anaesthetic has been developed, this is a logical step to improving the patient journey.”

“General anaesthetic requires more preparation and requires patients to be accompanied by someone following the procedure as well as spending most of the day in the hospital setting and having to take more time off from work or other activities of daily living.

“At the San Prostate Centre of Excellence, we have conducted a study of 70 patients so far who have been given only local anaesthetic. The aim of the study was to determine if local anaesthetic provided the pain relief to the satisfaction of our patients and if the broader use of the approach could be justified.”

Research Fellow at the Centre of Excellence, Dr Hadia Khanani, who is analysing the data said that of the 70 patients, 69 said they would choose to have localised anaesthetic instead of general if they had to undergo the procedure again. 

“Patients in our study found it significantly easier to just have a local anaesthetic,” she said. “They could get up immediately after the procedure, drive themselves home, and eat and drink normally straight away.

“Our data also showed a reduction in patient anxiety – given that general anaesthetic is associated with bigger surgery. The significantly less time spent in hospital and outstanding pain scores also led to greater overall satisfaction with the approach.”

The San is currently one of only a handful of institutions in Australia where local anaesthetic option for prostate biopsies is offered.


Professor Henry Woo
Urological Surgeon, sub-specialising in Prostate Surgery.

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