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What is Prostate MRI?
What is a Prostate MRI?
MRI, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging, is a noninvasive test that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to generate detailed images of the body. A Prostate MRI provides detailed images of the prostate and surrounding tissues. For this reason, it is often used to diagnose, evaluate and monitor prostate cancer and its treatment.
Why would my physician recommend a Prostate MRI?
Your physician may recommend a Prostate MRI if you have elevated PSA levels in order to determine if you have prostate cancer. If you have already been diagnosed with prostate cancer, an MRI may be used to localize the tumor and determine if it has spread outside of the prostate gland. It may also be used to evaluate other prostate conditions such as an enlarged prostate, infection of the prostate, complications after pelvic surgery or other abnormalities. In some cases, a Prostate MRI is used to help plan prostate cancer treatment or monitor the prostate to determine if cancer has returned.
How does a Prostate MRI work?
Unlike conventional X-ray examinations and Computed Tomography (CT) scans, a Prostate MRI does not utilize ionizing radiation. Instead, it uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create images of the prostate and surrounding soft tissues. These images can be used to diagnose any number of diseases or injuries of the prostate, including prostate cancer, infection, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or other abnormalities.
What should I expect during a Prostate MRI?
If this is your first MRI, you may not be sure what to expect. Not to worry, we are here to guide you every step of the way. You may or may not be given a contrast agent intravenously. During the procedure, you will lie flat on an exam table. In order to get better images of the prostate gland and surrounding area, an endorectal coil may be used. This thin coil is covered with a latex balloon and then inserted into the rectum. The balloon is inflated to hold the coil in place while it captures closer images of the prostate gland. While the coil is inserted, you may feel slight pressure in the rectal area. You may be given medication or sedation to make you more comfortable.
The table will slide into the scanner where the surrounding magnetic fields and radio waves will capture images of the prostate. It is important that you remain still during this time. Also, the MRI machine does generate loud noise as images are captured. All patients are given protective ear plugs, or headphones for music. The Technologist will be in the adjacent room operating the scanner, but will be able to hear and communicate with you throughout the exam. The exam can take anywhere from 45 - 60 minutes.
What should I expect after a Prostate MRI?
When the MRI is complete, you may be asked to wait until the Radiologist checks the images to ensure no additional images are needed. Once the exam is complete, you may resume your normal activity level. Our Radiologist will interpret your study and send the final report to your physician.
Is a Prostate MRI painful?
MRI exams are painless. You may feel some pressure if the endorectal coil is used. To help you feel more comfortable, medication or a sedative may be given. The part that may be uncomfortable is remaining still during the imaging portion of the exam. If you suffer from claustrophobia, talk to your physician to see if medication may be prescribed.
How do I schedule a Prostate MRI with Fairfax Radiology?
Contact our Scheduling Department for an appointment:
Phone: 703.698.4488 Monday through Friday 8am to 6pm
Or click here to make an appointment request
Please have your written physician order and your insurance card in hand when making your appointment.
When are appointments offered for a Prostate MRI?