Prostate MRI

MRI of the prostate is a special scan that uses strong magnet and radio waves to provide clear and detailed diagnostic images of a man's prostate gland. This exam is used to evaluate the prostate for signs of cancer or to determine if prostate cancer has spread. Prostate MRI may also be used to diagnosis other problems associated with the prostate such as infection, enlargement or congenital abnormalities.

When is this exam recommended?

Prostate MRI is used to help evaluate signs and symptoms associated with prostate disease. Some uses include:

  • Evaluating prostate cancer size and whether it has spread
  • Monitoring the progress of prostate treatment
  • Detecting prostate infection or an abscess
  • Diagnosing prostate enlargement
  • Prostate MRI may also be recommended when planning for prostate or pelvic surgery, radiation therapy, or biopsy.

What are the benefits?

  • Prostate MRI scan is noninvasive and painless.
  • In a single scan, prostate MRI can evaluate soft tissue, and blood vessels.
  • MRI scan does not expose patients to any ionizing radiation.
  • An MRI exam may help avoid exploratory surgery.
  • Prostate MRI provides highly detailed images of pelvic structures and can assist in the diagnosis and evaluation of prostate cancer and other prostate related illnesses.

Are there any risks?

  • Any medical devices implanted into your body may be at risk of malfunction due to the strong magnetic field.
  • In very rare cases, in patients with poor kidney function, nephrogenic systemic fibrosis is a possible complication when contrast is used.
  • Gadolinium-based contrast has a very slight risk of causing an allergic reaction which can usually be easily treated.
  • Pregnant women should consult with their physician prior to an MRI exam. However, there have been no documented negative effects of MRI in the many years of its medical usage, and MRI is often the method of imaging chosen for pregnant women and fetuses. It should be noted that MRI contrast agents are not recommended to be used during pregnancy unless the benefits far outweigh the risks.
  • The ACR states that current information suggests breastfeeding is safe after the use of intravenous contrast. Please discuss your breastfeeding options with your medical provider

How should I prepare?

  • Guidelines about eating and drinking before an MRI exam will vary. You will be informed of any exam preparations required during the scheduling of your exam.
  • Before your MRI exam you will be asked to change into a gown; removing undergarments that may have metal fasteners or fibers.
  • Jewelry and other metal objects can not be worn during the exam. Please try to leave them at home if possible.
  • You must notify the technologist if you have any implanted medical devices or any metal in your body. These can interfere with the exam and can cause harm during an MRI because of the strength of the magnet.
  • Inform the technologist if you are pregnant or suspect you might be pregnant


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