Prostate Cancer MRI

Our physicians are committed to prostate cancer detection

At Mecklenburg Radiology Associates we work hard to bring the latest in advanced imaging technology to the fight against prostate cancer. This requires both the proper tools and the expertise to apply them with precision and accuracy. 3 Tesla Prostate MRI is only one of the innovations we bring to the fight against prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the most common cause of death in males over 75. It is more common in African American males, all men over 60 and males with a first degree relative (brother or father) with prostate cancer. There are several other environmental risk factors so you should ask your physician if you think you may be at risk.

The prostate gland is a male reproductive organ that sits below the bladder and surrounds the first portion of the urethra. It lies directly in front of the lower part of the rectum. MRI is an imaging technique that uses no ionizing radiation and is particularly suited to evaluating soft tissues. In the past MRI technology was more basic and a special coil inserted into the rectum was needed to effectively image the prostate. Today, at Presbyterian Hospital, we have a 3 Tesla MRI with a stronger magnetic field and advanced 32 channel phased array radio frequency coils. This means that we can make detailed images of the prostate ( see figure 1
Figure 1. 3T High Resolution T2 Weighted MR Image
) without a coil inserted into the rectum. High resolution images in combination with new MR imaging techniques such as diffusion weighted imaging ( see figure 2
Figure 2. 3T Diffusion Weighted MR Image
) with diffusion map imaging ( see figure 3
Figure 3. 3T Diffusion Map MR Image
) and prostate perfusion imaging with both wash-in ( see figure 4
Figure 4. 3T Perfusion Wash-In MR Image
) and wash-out imaging ( see figure 5
Figure 5. 3T Perfusion Wash-Out MR Image
) along with a computer aided diagnosis (CAD) tool all allow our team to arrive at the most accurate diagnosis.

Originally prostate MRI was only used to stage cancer. Today, 3T prostate MRI has become much more accurate and it is now used in several new ways.

  1. Evaluation of men with rising PSA and negative biopsy to evaluate for missed tumor and guide repeat biopsy attempts.
  2. Evaluation of men treated for prostate cancer with a rising PSA and a negative biopsy to evaluate for locally recurrent tumor and guide repeat biopsy attempts.
  3. Evaluation of men treated for prostate cancer with a rising PSA to guide first biopsy.
  4. Evaluation of men with rising PSA to guide a first biopsy.
  5. Presurgical or preradiation therapy planning.

On arrival at Presbyterian Hospital you will proceed to admitting for registration. After registration you will be directed to the Department of Radiology for some necessary paperwork. These forms provide us the information to perform the best possible diagnostic evaluation of your particular condition. An MRI technologist will greet you and escort you to the MRI suite.

Upon arrival in MRI an IV will be placed in one of your arms. If necessary a test to determine your kidney function will be performed as well. Any metal on your body will need to be removed prior to entering the 3T MRI suite. At the time of your exam you will be escorted into the room and shown the 3T MRI and 32 channel phased array RF coil used to obtain the MR image data. You will lie on the scanner table with the RF coil over your pelvis and slide into the scanner feet first. This will leave your head near the end of the 3T MRI tube. The study takes 30-40 minutes and there will be an injection of contrast near the end.

It is important to remain as still as possible during the exam but particularly when the scanner is making knocking and buzzing noises. During this time image data is being obtained. When the exam is complete the IV will be removed and a small bandage will be placed at the site. Discharge instructions will be provided and you may exit the Radiology Department and Presbyterian Hospital without further check out. The findings of your exam are typically available within 48 hours but often sooner. Your physician will contact you with the results.


Meet Our Prostate Cancer Radiology Team
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Prostate Cancer Images
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