(HealthDay News) — The environmental impact of prostate biopsies is considerable, according to a study recently published in European Urology.

Michael S. Leapman, MD, from the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, and colleagues estimated the environmental impact associated with prostate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and prostate biopsy. Environmental emissions were compared across 5 clinical scenarios: multiparametric MRI (mpMRI) of the prostate with targeted and systematic biopsies; mpMRI with targeted biopsy cores only; systematic biopsy without MRI; mpMRI with systematic biopsy; and biparametric MRI (bpMRI) with targeted and systematic biopsies.

The researchers noted that an estimated 80.7 kg carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) are emitted by a single transrectal prostate biopsy procedure including prostate MRI and targeted and systematic biopsies in the United States. A total of 76.2, 36.2, 70.5, and 42.7 kg CO2e were generated by an approach of MRI targeted cores alone without systematic biopsies, a systematic 12-core biopsy without mpMRI, bpMRI with targeted and systematic biopsies, and mpMRI alone, respectively. The largest contributor was energy, with an estimated 38.1 kg CO2e, followed by staff travel and supply production (20.7 and 11.4 kg CO2e, respectively). A total of 8.1 million kg CO2e could be avoided by performing 100,000 fewer unnecessary biopsies, which was equivalent to 4.1 million L of gasoline consumed. The use of prostate MRI to triage prostate biopsy and guide targeted biopsy cores would save the equivalent of 1.4 million kg CO2 emissions per 100,000 patients, which was equivalent to 700,000 L of gas consumed.

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“We hope this work adds depth to the discussion by providing concrete estimates of health care pollution and environmental impact also incurred through these procedures,” Leapman said in a statement.

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