When Do You Need a Prostate MRI?

July 28, 2022 – 2 min read

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When Does a Doctor Order a Prostate MRI?

According to the National Cancer Institute, over 12% of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetimes. Doctors may include a variety of tests and scans to help diagnose and treat prostate cancer. A prostate MRI is one of these tools.

A prostate MRI detects cancer in men who have had abnormal blood test results or who are experiencing symptoms of cancer. Prostate MRI can also assist in the diagnosis of enlarged or infected prostate, as well as problems that develop after pelvic surgery.

What is a prostate MRI?

An MRI uses magnetic radio waves to take several images of the inside of the body. A prostate MRI gives providers a detailed view of the prostate to help detect injury or disease. MRIs do not use radiation and are generally safe. Front start to finish, an MRI of the prostate typically takes less than 45 minutes and is painless.

A leading type of scan known as a 3T prostate MRI uses a stronger type of magnet and a wider open to the MRI machine. These improvements are designed to improve the precision of the prostate MRI scan and increase the comfort of the scan for patients.

Common reasons why you may need a prostate MRI

If your doctor suspects you may be experiencing symptoms of prostate cancer, they may recommend a prostate MRI to help determine the right treatment plan. An MRI of the prostate has many uses, including:

  • Prostate cancer diagnosis. Prostate cancer screening typically involves a blood test called prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. If your PSA blood test is abnormal or if you are experiencing symptoms of prostate cancer, your provider may order an MRI to help with a diagnosis.
  • Prostate biopsy aid. If you need a prostate biopsy, your provider may use an MRI to use as a reference when they conduct the biopsy to investigate any areas of concern.
  • Staging prostate cancer. A prostate MRI can also be used to determine how much the cancer has spread or if it has moved to nearby tissue or structures.

A prostate MRI isn’t used only to diagnose cancer. In some cases, prostate MRI is a useful tool for diagnosing a variety of conditions:

  • Enlarged prostate, also called benign prostatic hyperplasia
  • Prostatitis, or infection in the prostate
  • Problems that develop after surgery on the pelvis

Your doctor will use the results of a prostate MRI to help determine the right course of treatment.

Board-certified, subspecialized radiologists provide doctors with precise results they can trust.* After receiving an order from your doctor for an MRI scan or other imaging, make an appointment at the American Health Imaging center nearest you.