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Needle Guide Type Affects Prostate Biopsy Complications

Disposable needle guides may be associated with fewer infections than reusable guides

MONDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- In men undergoing transrectal prostate biopsy, the use of a disposable ultrasound needle guide may significantly reduce the rate of infectious complications, according to research published in the June issue of Urology.

Altug Tuncel, M.D., of the Ministry of Health in Ankara, Turkey, and colleagues randomly assigned 198 patients to receive a transrectal needle biopsy with either a reusable or a disposable ultrasound needle guide.

In the overall group, the researchers identified 14 (7.1 percent) cases of asymptomatic bacteriuria, 11 (5.5 percent) cases of acute urinary tract infection, and 16 (8.1 percent) cases of high fever. But they found that the infectious complication rate was significantly higher in the reusable needle group than in the disposable needle group.

"This is a well-organized study that shows the potential benefits of a disposable needle guide to reduce the infectious complication rate in transrectal prostate biopsies. The question remains, however, if one can justify the higher costs that would be associated with a disposable guide when the overall infectious rate is already extremely low with the use of reusable guides," states the author of an accompanying editorial. In reply, Tuncel offered additional comment: "In Turkey, the cost of the disposable needle guide is reasonable ($5 US), and because infectious complications may require hospitalization or prolonged antibiotic therapy, the use of a disposable needle guide seems to be a cost-effective alternative."

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