Preparing For Your Mri Scan
Before you go to your appointment, or when you arrive, you fill in a safety checklist. This asks about:
- any operations youve had
- whether you have any metal implants or other metals in your body
An MRI scan uses strong magnetism which could affect any metal in your body. This includes:
- pacemakers or an implantable defibrillator
- surgical clips, pins or plates
- cochlear implants
- metal fragments anywhere in your body for example from an injury, dental fillings and bridges
You can still have an MRI scan if you have some metals in your body, but your doctor and radiographer decide if its safe for you. Tell the scanner staff about any metals in your body.
Some people feel claustrophobic or closed in when theyre having an MRI scan. Contact the department before your test if youre likely to feel like this. The hospital staff can take extra care to make sure youre comfortable and that you understand whats going on. Your doctor can give you medicine to help you relax if you need to.
The radiographers let you know whether you need to empty your bowels of any poo or gas before having the scan. In some departments you might be given an enema. An enema is a liquid filled pouch that has a nozzle that you can put into your back passage and it helps to empty your bowels.
What Are The Risks Of A Prostate Mri
A very small number of people have an allergic reaction to the gadolinium contrast medium. Most reactions are mild, such as a rash or hives .
If you have very poor kidney function, you will not be given contrast medium, as there is a small risk of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis see Contrast Medium: using gadolinium or iodine in patients with kidney problems.
If an endorectal coil is used for the scan, there is also a very small risk of damage to the rectum from the balloon. If you have any concerns, please contact the MRI facility.
When Can I Expect The Results Of My Prostate Mri
The time that it takes your doctor to receive a written report on the test or procedure you have had will vary, depending on:
- the urgency with which the result is needed
- whether more information is needed from your doctor before the examination can be interpreted by the radiologist
- whether you have had previous X-rays or other medical imaging that need to be compared with this new test or procedure
- how the report is conveyed from the practice or hospital to your doctor .
Please feel free to ask the private practice, clinic or hospital where you are having your test or procedure when your doctor is likely to have the written report.
It is important that you discuss the results with the doctor who referred you, either in person or on the telephone, so that they can explain what the results mean for you.
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What Is Prostate Cancer
Cancer can start any place in the body. Prostate cancer starts in the prostate gland. It starts when cells in the prostate grow out of control.
Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body. Cancer cells in the prostate can sometimes travel to the bones or other organs and grow there. When cancer cells do this, its called metastasis. To doctors, the cancer cells in the new place look just like the ones from the prostate.
Cancer is always named for the place where it starts. So when prostate cancer spreads to the bones , its still called prostate cancer. Its not called bone cancer unless it starts from cells in the bone.
Ask your doctor to use this picture to show you where your cancer is.
The prostate is a gland found only in men, so only men can get prostate cancer.
The prostate is just below the bladder and in front of the rectum . The tube that carries pee goes through the prostate. The prostate makes some of the fluid that helps keep the sperm alive and healthy.
There are a few types of prostate cancer. Some are very rare. Most prostate cancers are a type called adenocarcinoma. This cancer starts from gland cells. Your doctor can tell you more about the type you have.
Use In Men Who Might Have Prostate Cancer
The PSA blood test is used mainly to screen for prostate cancer in men without symptoms. Its also one of the first tests done in men who have symptoms that might be caused by prostate cancer.
PSA in the blood is measured in units called nanograms per milliliter . The chance of having prostate cancer goes up as the PSA level goes up, but there is no set cutoff point that can tell for sure if a man does or doesnt have prostate cancer. Many doctors use a PSA cutoff point of 4 ng/mL or higher when deciding if a man might need further testing, while others might recommend it starting at a lower level, such as 2.5 or 3.
- Most men without prostate cancer have PSA levels under 4 ng/mL of blood. Still, a level below 4 is not a guarantee that a man doesnt have cancer.
- Men with a PSA level between 4 and 10 have about a 1 in 4 chance of having prostate cancer.
- If the PSA is more than 10, the chance of having prostate cancer is over 50%.
If your PSA level is high, you might need further tests to look for prostate cancer.
To learn more about how the PSA test is used to look for cancer, including factors that can affect PSA levels, special types of PSA tests, and what the next steps might be if you have an abnormal PSA level, see Screening Tests for Prostate Cancer.
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Imaging Tests For Prostate Cancer
Imaging tests use x-rays, magnetic fields, sound waves, or radioactive substances to create pictures of the inside of your body. One or more imaging tests might be used:
- To look for cancer in the prostate
- To help the doctor see the prostate during certain procedures
- To look for spread of prostate cancer to other parts of the body
Which tests you might need will depend on the situation. For example, a prostate biopsy is typically done with transrectal ultrasound and/or MRI to help guide the biopsy. If you are found to have prostate cancer, you might need imaging tests of other parts of your body to look for possible cancer spread.
The imaging tests used most often to look for prostate cancer spread include:
Your Mri Scan Will Provide You With The Stage Of Your Prostate Cancer
In patients who are subsequently diagnosed with prostate cancer, the MRI scan provides the stage of the cancer, with the letter T used to indicate the stage of the tumour. Stage means how far the cancer has spread. Although the stage can be assessed by digital rectal examination, it is more accurately assessed by an MRI scan.
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What Body Areas Are Seen During An Mri Of The Abdomen And Pelvis
Body organs that can be seen during an MRI of the abdomen and pelvis include:
- Stomach, intestines , liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and spleen. These organs help break down the food you eat and get rid of waste through bowel movements.
- Kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra . These organs make urine and allow you to urinate.
- Reproductive organs. In men, these organs include the testicles, prostate gland, penis, and scrotum. In women, these organs include the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus , cervix, and vagina.
When You Need Themand When You Dont
It is normal to want to do everything you can to treat prostate cancer. But its not always a good idea to get all the tests that are available. You may not need them. And the risks from the tests may be greater than the benefits.
The information below explains why cancer experts usually do not recommend certain imaging tests if you are diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer. You can use this information to talk about your options with your doctor and choose whats best for you.
How is prostate cancer usually found?
Prostate cancer is cancer in the male prostate gland. It usually grows slowly and does not have symptoms until it has spread. Most men are diagnosed in the early stages when their doctor does a rectal exam or a PSA blood test. PSA is a protein made in the prostate. High levels of PSA may indicate cancer in the prostate.
If one of these tests shows that you might have prostate cancer, you will be given more tests. These tests help your doctor find out if you actually have cancer and what stage your cancer is.
What are the stages of prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is divided into stages one to four . Cancer stages tell how far the cancer has spread.
Stages I and II are considered early-stage prostate cancer. The cancer has not spread outside the prostate. However, stage II cancer may be more likely to spread over time than stage I cancer. In stages III and IV, the cancer has already spread to other parts of the body.
Imaging tests have risks.
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What Happens During The Exam
You will be asked to wear a hospital gown during the MRI scan.
As the MRI scan begins, you will hear the equipment making a muffled thumping sound, which will last for several minutes. Other than the sound, you should notice no unusual sensations during the scanning.
Certain MRI exams require an injection of a dye . This helps identify certain anatomic structures on the scan images.
Before the exam, feel free to ask questions and tell the technician or doctor if you have any concerns.
People who get anxious when in tight spaces may benefit from talking to their doctor before the procedure. Some options include taking a prescription medication before the procedure to relieve anxiety or having the exam done in one of the newer and less confining MRI units, called an open MRI, when available.
What Are The Benefits Of A Prostate Mri
The MRI scan can help find a cancer of the prostate gland, especially if you have elevated or rising PSA.
If a cancer has already been found, the MRI images can show whether it has spread outside the prostate gland or not. This can have a very important impact on whether or not you have treatment, and if so, which type of treatment you receive.
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Ways Prostate Mri Can Improve Diagnostic Accuracy
This year, the American Cancer Society estimates that nearly 175,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer . But despite being the most common cancer among men, excluding skin cancer, theres no one size fits all solution for determining prostate cancer risk.
So how can men find a balance between avoiding the drawbacks of screening, while also ensuring nothing goes undetected? Prostate MRI, combined with a second opinion, could be the answer.
How The Test Will Feel
An MRI exam causes no pain. If you have difficulty lying still or are very nervous, you may be given a medicine to relax you. Too much movement can blur MRI images and cause errors.
The table may be hard or cold, but you can request a blanket or pillow. The machine produces loud thumping and humming noises when turned on. You can wear ear plugs to help reduce the noise.
An intercom in the room allows you to speak to someone at any time. Some MRIs have televisions and special headphones that you can use to help the time pass.
There is no recovery time, unless you were given a medicine to relax. After an MRI scan, you can resume your normal diet, activity, and medicines.
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How Do I Prepare For A Prostate Ultrasound
You dont need to do much to prepare for a prostate ultrasound. Its an outpatient procedure that usually takes less than an hour. Your doctor may refer you to a hospital or clinic that has the proper ultrasound equipment for this test. You may also need to sign a consent form before the test.
Some possible instructions that your doctor might give you before the test include:
- Dont eat for a few hours before the test.
- Take a laxative or enema to help clear out your intestines a few hours before the test.
- Stop taking any medications that can thin your blood, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or aspirin, about a week before the procedure. This is usually recommended if your doctor plans to take a biopsy of your prostate.
- Dont wear any jewelry or tight clothes to the clinic on the day of the procedure.
- Take any medications recommended to help you relax during the procedure. Your doctor may recommend a sedative, such as lorazepam .
- Make sure someones available to take you home in case your doctor gives you a sedative.
Tests To Diagnose And Stage Prostate Cancer
Most prostate cancers are first found as a result of screening. Early prostate cancers usually dont cause symptoms, but more advanced cancers are sometimes first found because of symptoms they cause.
If prostate cancer is suspected based on results of screening tests or symptoms, tests will be needed to be sure. If youre seeing your primary care doctor, you might be referred to a urologist, a doctor who treats cancers of the genital and urinary tract, including the prostate.
The actual diagnosis of prostate cancer can only be made with a prostate biopsy .
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What Is An Mri Of The Lumbar Spine
MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging, and lumbar spine MRI uses magnetic imaging technology and radio waves to take detailed pictures of the inside of your body near the lumbar region of your spine. This cross-sectional imaging method made possible with MRI machines also captures pictures of the soft tissues, muscles and organs in that part of your body.
What Happens During A Prostate Mri
You will be asked to change into a hospital gown and lie on a table attached to the MRI machine. A small needle will be inserted into a vein in your arm or hand this will be used to give the following medications:
Some radiology practices use an endorectal coil as part of the scan. An endorectal coil is a latex balloon with a central tube that contains the coils. It helps to provide high-quality images of the prostate and surrounding area. It is inserted into the rectum and inflated before the scan. It stays in during the scan and is removed when the scan is finished.
Some radiology practices also give an enema before the procedure. An enema is a liquid that is squirted into the rectum via the anus and helps to clear the bowel. Again, this is to provide as high-quality images as possible.
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Use In Men Already Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer
The PSA test can also be useful if you have already been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
- In men just diagnosed with prostate cancer, the PSA level can be used together with physical exam results and tumor grade to help decide if other tests are needed.
- The PSA level is used to help determine the stage of your cancer. This can affect your treatment options, since some treatments are not likely to be helpful if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
- PSA tests are often an important part of determining how well treatment is working, as well as in watching for a possible recurrence of the cancer after treatment .
Surgery For Prostate Cancer
There are many types of surgery for prostate cancer. Some are done to try to cure the cancer others are done to control the cancer or make symptoms better. Talk to the doctor about the kind of surgery planned and what you can expect.
Side effects of surgery
Any type of surgery can have risks and side effects. Be sure to ask the doctor what you can expect. If you have problems, let your doctors know so they can help you.
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What Will I Experience During And After The Procedure
Most MRI exams are painless. However, some patients find it uncomfortable to remain still. Others may feel closed-in while in the MRI scanner. The scanner can be noisy. Sedation may be arranged for anxious patients, but fewer than one in 20 require it.
You may feel pressure while the doctor inserts the endorectal coil into your rectum. This is similar to that experienced during a digital rectal exam.
It is normal for the area of your body being imaged to feel slightly warm, but if it bothers you, notify the radiologist or technologist. 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. For some types of exams, you may be asked to hold your breath. 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. Many MRI centers allow a friend or parent to stay in the room as long as they are also screened for safety in the magnetic environment.