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Prostate MRI & Biopsy

A new alternative in prostate cancer diagnosis.

According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the most common cancer that affects American men, after skin cancer. One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime compared to one in eight women who will develop breast cancer. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death behind lung cancer; one in 35 men will die of the disease. Yet, some men live each day not knowing whether they have prostate cancer because of inconclusive results. For these men, there’s a new option: Prostate MRI and MRI-guided prostate biopsy.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is one of the safest, most comfortable imaging techniques available, combining a powerful magnet with an advanced computer system and radio waves to produce accurate, detailed, pictures of organs and tissues.

Prostate MRI uses computer-aided detection (CAD) to pinpoint specific areas within the prostate gland that are suspicious and may require further evaluation. MRI CAD can help to pinpoint suspicious areas within the prostate.

If suspicious areas are identified with Prostate MRI, the patient may be a candidate for an MRI-guided prostate biopsy.

Prostate MRI is an effective diagnostic tool for men with:

  • Elevated or rising Prostate-specific Antigen (PSA) and at least one negative Transrectal Ultrasound-guided (TRUS) biopsy
  • Positive Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) and negative TRUS biopsy
  • Prostate cancer diagnosis—to provide accurate staging and guide treatment options or assess disease progression
  • Prostate cancer—to assess recurrences following radical prostatectomy or radiation therapy

The Prostate MRI Experience.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI or MR) is one of the safest, most comfortable imaging techniques available. It combines a powerful magnet with an advanced computer system and radio waves to produce accurate, detailed pictures of organs and tissues to diagnose a variety of medical conditions.

If you have not had an MRI exam before, chances are you have questions about what to expect. Here, you’ll find information on how to prepare and what to expect during and after your exam.

  • A center representative will call you prior to your appointment to provide specific instructions, and review health and insurance information.
  • Because of the magnetic field, you will be required to wear metal-free clothing, or to change into a gown. You also will be asked to remove any metallic objects, such as jewelry and watches.
  • A technologist will walk through an MRI safety checklist with you. Make sure to inform your technologist of prior surgeries or metal implants, such as pacemakers or aneurysm clips.
  • In some cases, you will need contrast material to further aid in detection or diagnosis of potential abnormalities. In this instance, an I.V. will be placed in your hand or arm. 
  • Next, the table will move into the scanner opening. As images are acquired, you will hear “knocking” or “buzzing” sounds for a few minutes at a time. It is important to lie as still as possible during this part of the exam to help us capture clear images.
  • The Prostate MRI exam will take approximately 30 minutes.

After your exam

  • Following your exam, the radiologist will review your images and send your doctor a detailed report. If the Prostate MRI reveals a suspicious area, your doctor may order an MRI-guided prostate biopsy that would be scheduled for a later date.

The MRI-guided Prostate Biopsy Experience.

When diagnostic MRI confirms the presence of suspicious tumors, an MRI-guided biopsy is the next step. This technique uses special software that allows the radiologist to target very specific areas for biopsy, even those that a TRUS biopsy may have difficulty reaching.

Due to precise targeting, only two to four biopsy samples are needed for an accurate diagnosis, thus reducing risk of infection, bleeding, pain and recovery time compared to other biopsy techniques.

  • Similar to prostate MRI, a center representative will call you prior to your appointment to provide specific instructions.
  • For the biopsy, you will lie on a cushioned table. A biopsy device, called a DynaTrim, will be inserted into the rectum to guide the biopsy needle into place.
  • The table will move into the MRI scanner opening. Using MRI images for guidance, the radiologist will use the biopsy needle to obtain a few samples of prostate tissue from the suspicious areas.
  • On average, an MRI-guided prostate biopsy takes 30 to 45 minutes.

After your biopsy

  • Typically patients may resume normal physical activity 24 hours following the biopsy. Blood in the urine is normal and usually resolves within 24 hours.

Tissue samples obtained during the biopsy will be sent to a pathology lab for testing. The radiologist will review the pathology report with your doctor who will use that information to work with you to plan your ongoing care.