What Is Prostate MRI?
A prostate MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a painless radiology exam. This is performed to examine the prostate gland (a walnut-sized gland located between the bladder and the penis) in a non-invasive manner. The prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system that helps make semen that contains sperm.
In this scan, multiple images of the blood vessels and soft tissues of the prostate area are generated using radio waves and a strong magnetic field.
The prostate MRI helps doctors in detecting, staging, and keeping a watch on the extent of prostate cancer. It also helps them in identifying infection, inflammation, and other abnormalities in the prostate area.
In some cases, the MRI of the prostate is done with the use of contrast material (dye) that is injected into the veins. When the contrast material is used, the blood vessels are seen more clearly in the scanned images.
Note:A stand-up MRI machine is different than a traditional doughnut-shaped closed MRI machine. The stand-up MRI machine does not completely surround the body and is open on three sides. In the stand-up MRI scan, instead of lying in a narrow tunnel of traditional MRI machine, a patient can either stand in a weight-bearing position or can sit or lean in the position of symptom or pain.
The stand-up MRI scan is recommended for patients who are afraid of closed places (claustrophobia). It is also recommended for patients who are considerably large in size as it becomes difficult for them to fit in the traditional closed MRI machines
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What Symptoms Should I Have to Get a Prostate MRI?
Your doctor will recommend a prostate MRI only if you have one or more of the following symptoms or ailments because any delay could lead to serious conditions:
- Swelling of the prostate (Prostatitis)
- Unexplained urination problems
- Enlarged prostate (Benign prostatic hyperplasia)
- Sexual problems
- Prostate cancer
What Will My Doctor Find out from a Prostate MRI?
An MRI of the Prostate will help your doctor:
- Diagnose prostate cancer and check whether or not it has spread outside of the prostate gland.
- Detect birth defects of the prostate area.
- Detect swelling in the prostate due to infection (Prostatitis).
- Detect enlarged prostate (Benign prostatic hyperplasia).
- Help in planning the radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer.
- Check if there are any complications after pelvic surgery.
- Ensure the prostate cancer hasn’t grown back after treatment.
Your doctor may also ask you to take the Prostate Ultrasound and Testicles and Scrotum Ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis for abnormalities such as cysts or tumors. Your doctor may even recommend the Prostate Test (PSA) to measure the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood that helps to screen for prostate cancer. Depending on the results, your doctor will confirm the diagnosis and plan your treatment.
How Is a Prostate MRI Performed?
- Before starting the prostate MRI, you will have to remove all the metal objects on your body, including eyeglasses, jewelry, hairpins, and dentures.
- A technologist will ask you to stand up, sit down, or lean on your back on a stand-up MRI scanner table.
- In case an endorectal coil (a thin wire covered with a latex balloon) is being used during the scan to improve the quality of the images, your doctor or nurse will insert the coil into your rectum and inflate the balloon.
- The scanner table will move back slowly into the stand-up MRI machine and multiple images of your pelvic region will be taken, and these will be displayed on a monitor.
- At certain points during the scan, the technologist will ask you to hold your breath for 10 to 12 seconds. Make sure you don’t move during the scan as any movement can blur the images.
In case your doctor has asked you to take a prostate MRI with contrast, then contrast dye will be injected into your vein shortly after an initial series of scans. Additional images will be taken following the injection.
What Should I Expect After Completing a Prostate MRI?
- If contrast dye was used during your scan, then you may be kept under observation to check for any side effects or reactions to the contrast dye. These include swelling, rash, itching, or trouble breathing.
- In case there is any pain, redness, or swelling at the IV site after you go home, tell your doctor immediately. This could be a type of reaction or sign of infection.
- Otherwise, there are no restrictions placed upon you after taking the test. You can go back to your regular activities like driving and eating regular food unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
How Long Does a Prostate MRI Take?
An MRI of the prostate is usually completed between 30 to 45 minutes.
Is Radiation Involved in a Prostate MRI?
No. An MRI is a painless imaging test that doesn’t use radiation.
Are There Any Risks in Taking a Prostate MRI?
- People who have implants such as a cardiac pacemaker, coronary stent, orthopedic rods, and plates, which contain metal, may face certain risks. The magnets used in an MRI can make implanted pins or screws move in the body or cause problems with pacemakers.
- Some people might also have an allergic reaction to the contrast dye used in an MRI.
When Will I Receive My Results?
Once the prostate MRI is completed, you will receive your results within 3-5 business days in your LabFinder portal.
How Should I Prepare for a Prostate MRI?
Please refer to the simple preparation guidelines given below or consult with your doctor or radiology center where you are being treated. Do not forget to bring your LabFinder Order and Insurance Card to your appointment.
- Book and manage your personal health records
- Feel organized — keep your results in one place
- Save money — avoid surprise medical bills
How it Works
- Select your test & location
- Visit your appointment
- Access and share your test results any time