Prostate MRI may be used to examine the prostate and nearby lymph nodes to distinguish between non-cancerous and cancerous areas. Prostate MRI does not use ionizing radiation and it provides images that are clearer and are more detailed than other imaging methods.
What Should I Expect?
Exams may be performed using an endorectal coil. During the insertion of the endorectal coil, you may feel pressure in your rectum similar to that experienced during a digital rectal exam. It is normal for the area of your body being imaged to feel slightly warm, and if this bothers you, notify the radiologist or technologist. You will be able to relax between imaging sequences but will be asked to maintain your position as much as possible.
How Is The Procedure Performed?
You will be positioned on the movable examination table. Straps and bolsters may be used to help you remain still and help maintain the correct and comfortable position during imaging. Devices that contain coils capable of sending and receiving radiowaves may be placed around or adjacent to the area of the body being studied. If an endorectal coil is to be used during the exam, a physician will place a disposable cover over the coil, lubricate the assembly and insert the coil into your rectum. Once inserted, a circular balloon is inflated which sits around the coil and holds it in place during the exam. When the exam is complete the balloon is deflated and the coil is removed.
If a contrast medium is used during the exam a physician or technologist will insert a catheter intravenously (IV) — also known as an IV line — into a vein in your hand or arm. A saline solution may be used to inject the contrast medium. The solution will drip through the IV to prevent blockage of the IV catheter until the contrast medium is injected.
You will be placed into the magnet of the MRI unit and the technologist or radiologist will perform the examination while working outside the room. When the examination is complete you may be asked to wait until the technologist or radiologist checks the images in case additional images are needed.