Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to produce detailed pictures of the human anatomy. MRI images allow the radiologist to “see” soft tissue, such as muscles, fat and internal organs without the use of x-rays.
Because there is no ionizing radiation used in an MRI exam, Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a very popular tool in the medical community. In addition, MRI is a totally painless exam and has no known side effects.
Prostate 3T Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a specialized MRI of the Pelvis, a noninvasive imaging technique designed to create detailed high resolution “multiparametric” (meaning to take a large amount of different pictures of the prostate gland) cross-sectional images of the prostate gland. These images allow our radiologist to locate and identify any lesions suspicious for prostate cancer.
Unlike many imaging providers, because we utilize a pelvic coil to capture images for the study, we eliminate the need to insert a device into a man’s rectum, thereby creating a much more comfortable experience.
At Capitol Imaging Services (CIS), we combine ultra-high field MRI and prostate digital imaging systems to create an advanced prostate MRI program that is truly unique to the greater New Orleans area, state of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.
When would I get a Prostate 3T MRI?
A prostate 3T MRI may be considered appropriate by a medical provider for:
- men with elevated serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels and a negative transrectal ultrasound guided (TRUS) biopsy
- men with a positive digital rectal examination and a negative TRUS biopsy
- men with a diagnosis of prostate cancer confirmed from a TRUS biopsy to exclude additional cancer or extension of cancer outside of the prostate gland
- men who have been treated for prostate cancer with radical prostatectomy, radiation therapy, cryotherapy, or high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) when there is concern for recurrence of prostate cancer (biochemical recurrence).
Rather than undergo repeat biopsies, the MRI reveals any potential concerns, thereby providing doctors with a way to either avoid further biopsies or pinpoint and perform a more precise one.
What Will I Experience?
MRI exams are painless. However, some patients find it challenging to remain still. Others may feel closed-in (claustrophobia) or anxious while in a conventional closed MRI scanner. The scanner can be noisy. Nervous or anxious patients may be offered a mild sedative if available in the facility.
A patient may also ask their medical provider to prescribe a mild sedative to take before the exam. If a mild sedative is taken, the patient will need to have someone drive them to our center and take them home once the exam is done.
It is normal for the area of your body being imaged to feel slightly warm. It is important that you remain perfectly still while the images are being recorded, which is typically only a few seconds to a few minutes at a time. You will know when images are being recorded because you will hear tapping or thumping sounds when the coils that generate the radiofrequency pulses are activated. You will be able to relax between imaging sequences, but will be asked to maintain your position as much as possible.
You will usually be alone in the exam room during the MRI procedure. However, the technologist will be able to see, hear and speak with you at all times using a two-way intercom.
You will be offered earplugs or a headset to reduce the noise of the MRI, which produces loud thumping and humming noises during imaging. MRI scanners are air-conditioned and well-lit. Some of our scanners have music you can listen to during the test.
A prostate 3T MRI requires an injection of intravenous contrast material. It is normal to feel coolness and a flushing sensation for a minute or two following the injection. The intravenous needle may cause you some discomfort when it is inserted and once it is removed, you may experience some bruising. There is also a very small chance of irritation of your skin at the site of the IV tube insertion.
Typically, a prostate MRI exam will take approximately 45-60 minutes to complete.