Prostate biopsies are outpatient procedures and performed so often they must be safe, right? You’d better think twice about that assumption. In fact, if you are a man considering a prostate biopsy, you’d better keep reading — because it turns out these procedures are not as safe as they are hyped to be. According to a study just published in the online edition of The Journal of Urology, prostate biopsies are landing more and more men in the hospital where they are dying, not from any cancer that was discovered but from what happens to them while hospitalized.

Here are the disturbing facts: using Medicare records, Johns Hopkins scientists performed the largest analysis ever of American men age 65 and older who underwent prostate biopsies over the last 20 years. In all, the researchers examined the number of biopsy-related complications that resulted in hospitalization of more than 17,400 of these men from 1991 to 2007. They then compared these rates to a group of 134,977 men (matched for age and other characteristics) during the same time period who did not undergo a prostate biopsy.

Their findings? Prostate biopsies were linked with approximately a 7 percent rate of hospitalization within 30 days of the procedure compared to a 2.9 percent hospitalization rate among the control group of men who didn’t have prostate biopsies.

Prostate biopsy complications soar, causing hospitalizations and death, 9/23/11

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