Your Prostate Exam


Your Prostate Exam

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Male Genital and Rectal Examination

How a Prostate Exam is Performed

The digital rectal examination (DRE, Latin palpatio per anum or PPA) is a relatively simple procedure. The patient is placed in a position where the anus is accessible and relaxed (lying on the side, squatting on the examination table, bent over the examination table, etc). The physician inserts a gloved and lubricated finger into the rectum through the anus and palpates the insides for approximately 60 seconds.

The DRE is inadequate as a screening tool for colorectal cancer because it examines less than 10% of the colorectal mucosa; colonoscopy is preferred. However, it's an important part of a general examination, as many tumors or other diseases are made manifest in the distal part of the rectum.

This examination may be used for the diagnosis of prostatic disorders, notably tumors and benign prostatic hyperplasia.


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