When Does A Doctor Order A Prostate MRI?
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting men worldwide. Early detection plays an important role in improving outcomes and treatment options. While a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test are commonly used to screen for prostate cancer, additional diagnostic techniques may be necessary to gather more detailed information. One technique is a prostate MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), which provides valuable insights into the prostate gland.
What Is A Prostate MRI?
A prostate MRI is a non-invasive imaging technique that uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the prostate gland and surrounding tissues. The study involves lying on a table that slides into the MRI scanner, a large cylindrical machine with a tunnel-like structure. The scanner captures high-resolution images, which are interpreted by a radiologist to assess the prostate's condition.
When Does A Doctor Order A Prostate MRI?
A doctor may consider ordering a prostate MRI for various reasons. Here are some key factors that impact when a doctor may recommend this diagnostic study:
- Elevated PSA Levels: If a man's PSA levels are above the normal range or show a significant increase over time, it may raise concerns about the presence of prostate cancer. A prostate MRI can help determine the presence of early signs of cancer and guide further diagnostic steps.
- Suspicious DRE Findings: During a digital rectal exam, if a doctor detects abnormalities such as nodules, asymmetry, or areas of concern in the prostate gland, they may order an MRI to obtain more detailed images and evaluate the extent and nature of these findings.
- Monitoring Cancer Progression: In individuals diagnosed with prostate cancer, a prostate MRI is useful for assessing the extent and stage of the disease, evaluating treatment response, and monitoring for potential recurrence or metastasis.
- Prior Negative Biopsy: In cases where a biopsy has previously been performed, but the results were inconclusive or did not align with clinical suspicion, a prostate MRI can help identify suspicious areas for targeted biopsy, increasing the chances of accurate diagnosis
What Does A Prostate MRI Detect?
A prostate MRI provides detailed images of the prostate gland and nearby structures, enabling the detection and evaluation of various conditions. Here are some key findings that a prostate MRI can detect:
- Prostate Cancer: It can help identify suspicious areas within the prostate that may indicate the presence of cancer. It can assist in determining the cancer's size, location, and aggressiveness, aiding treatment planning.
- Tumor Staging: By assessing the extent of tumor involvement, a prostate MRI can aid in staging prostate cancer, which is crucial for determining appropriate treatment strategies.
- Prostatitis: Prostate inflammation, known as prostatitis, can cause discomfort and urinary symptoms. This study can help visualize inflammation in the prostate and guide appropriate treatment.
- Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH): BPH is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland commonly observed in older men. This study can provide information about the size and configuration of the prostate, assisting in diagnosis and treatment decisions.
Is A Prostate MRI Non-Invasive?
Yes, a prostate MRI is considered a non-invasive study. It does not involve the use of needles or surgical instruments. However, depending on the specific case, the doctor may recommend a targeted biopsy based on the MRI findings. While the biopsy itself is an invasive procedure, the MRI preceding it is non-invasive. At South Jersey Radiology, our 3T Wide Bore MRI can perform a prostate MRI without the use of an endorectal coil, which increases patient comfort.
Preparing For A Prostate MRI
Before undergoing a prostate MRI, it is essential to follow the recommended preparation steps to ensure accurate results:
- Inform Your Referring Physician: Inform your referring physician about any existing medical conditions, allergies, or implanted medical devices, as these factors may affect the procedure or the use of contrast agents.
- Bowel and Bladder Preparation: A clear bowel and a moderately full bladder improve the quality of the images. Our MRI technologists will provide specific instructions on dietary restrictions and any necessary bowel preparation.
- Remove Metal Objects: Metal objects, such as jewelry or removable dentures, may interfere with the MRI. It is important to remove them before the procedure. If you have a metal implantation such as a pacemaker, please inform your referring physician. Certain South Jersey Radiology locations can accommodate the presence of metal implantation during an MRI.
- Contrast Agent: In some cases, a contrast agent may be used to enhance the visibility of certain structures during the MRI. If a contrast agent is needed, our MRI technologists will explain the details prior to your appointment.
Choose South Jersey Radiology
A prostate MRI is a valuable imaging study used in specific situations to assess the prostate gland and surrounding tissues. Factors such as elevated PSA levels, suspicious DRE findings, monitoring of cancer progression, and prior negative biopsies can influence a doctor's decision to order aMRI. By engaging with referring providers and prostate imaging experts, men can make well-informed decisions regarding their prostate health.
South Jersey Radiology Associates offers diagnostic and advanced medical imaging studies including prostate MRIs at costs up to 60% less than hospital-based imaging centers. With evening and weekend hours available, prioritizing your prostate health has never been easier. If you are ready to schedule your appointment, reach out to any of the following office locations below:
- Route 73 Office – Voorhees Township, NJ
- Greentree Office – Marlton, NJ
- Washington Township Office – Sewell, NJ
- Turnersville Office – Turnersville, NJ
- Voorhees Office – Voorhees Township, NJ
- West Deptford Office – West Deptford, NJ
Learn more about the board-certified, subspecialized radiologists who read and interpret our studies at SJRA here.
A prostate MRI is a non-invasive imaging technique that uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the prostate gland and surrounding tissues. It provides valuable insights into the condition of the prostate and helps detect and evaluate various conditions.
A doctor may order a prostate MRI for several reasons, including elevated PSA levels, suspicious findings during a digital rectal exam (DRE), monitoring of cancer progression, and prior negative biopsy results. These factors help determine the need for a prostate MRI to gather more detailed information.
A prostate MRI can detect and evaluate various conditions such as prostate cancer, tumor staging, prostatitis (prostate inflammation), and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It helps identify suspicious areas, determine cancer characteristics, assess tumor involvement, visualize inflammation, and provide information about the size and configuration of the prostate.
Yes, a prostate MRI is considered a non-invasive study. It does not involve the use of needles or surgical instruments. However, a targeted biopsy may be recommended based on the MRI findings, which is an invasive procedure. The MRI itself is non-invasive and designed to provide detailed imaging.
Before undergoing a prostate MRI, it is important to follow recommended preparation steps. These may include informing your referring physician about medical conditions or implanted devices, bowel and bladder preparation, removing metal objects, and understanding the use of contrast agents if necessary. Specific instructions will be provided by your doctor and our staff.
South Jersey Radiology offers prostate MRI services at various office locations including: