MRI of the Prostate
What is the importance of an MRI of the Prostate?
According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. About 1 man in 7 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. It is also the second leading cause of cancer death in males, second only to lung cancer.
An MRI exam of the prostate is a key imaging exam used to examine the prostate and surrounding lymph nodes to identify cancerous and noncancerous prostate areas or identify areas of infection in the prostate. It is also used to monitor prostate cancer severity, whether the cancer is growing and spreading to areas outside the prostate or to assist in radiotherapy planning once the cancer has been found.
An MRI study of the prostate incorporates a powerful magnet system, radio waves and a computer to create very detailed images of the prostate gland and surrounding anatomy. There is no ionizing radiation (X-rays) used to create any MRI image.
How do I prepare for an MRI of the Prostate?
Prior to your prostate MRI, you will be asked questions about:
- Any metal in or on your body, especially heart pacemakers, aneurysm clips in your head, or metal in your eyes
- Health history including your recent PSA and kidney function lab values
You will also be given guidelines about:
- Eating and drinking prior to the exam
- Comfortable attire you might consider
- What items not to bring into the MRI room
- Other preparations before the exam
The Procedure and the Results
During the procedure, an MRI contrast agent (dye) will be injected into a vein in your arm. This contrast improves the ability to differentiate structures and disease in the prostate. Images generated during the MRI are immediately transmitted to a computer with specialized prostate software and advanced tools to further analyze the images and provide comprehensive statistical and architectural 3D analysis. The data assists the radiologist in providing a complete, comprehensive interpretation of the exam.
Following the MRI
There is no recovery period required and you may immediately return to a normal diet and activities.
You can access online the results and report of your MRI prostate exam by visiting myBayCare.org, which is your secure, personal website connecting you to your medical records.
Membership in myBayCare.org begins when you provide your e-mail address during your registration at any BayCare facility. You will receive an invitation to enroll via e-mail, or you can self-enroll online.