What is prostate MRI?
Prostate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a magnetic field and radiofrequency waves to generate high-resolution images of structures within the prostate – a male reproductive gland below the bladder that helps to control urination.
Prostate MRI does not use ionising radiation. It is primarily used to detect evidence of prostatic cancer and, once confirmed by biopsy, to evaluate the extent of cancer and determine whether it has spread. It also may be used to identify areas of prostate cancer recurrence after treatment, and to help diagnose congenital abnormalities or infection in an enlarged prostate.
How should I prepare for a prostate MRI?
When you schedule your appointment, Epworth Medical Imaging staff will advise what is required in preparation for your prostate MRI. They will explain that as the prostate gland is located immediately adjacent to the bowel, a small enema will be used on the day to ensure optimal diagnostic quality.
At the time of booking, you should inform staff of any previous surgery. It is important to tell us if you have any of the following metallic devices or surgical implants inside your body: cardiac pacemaker; cerebral aneurysm clips; artificial heart valves; mechanical infusion pump; artificial stapes (stapedectomy); cochlear implant; neurostimulator; metal in your eyes (from previous welding or grinding).
If you have a history of diabetes, kidney or liver disease, high blood pressure or you are over 60 years we will also require a recent blood test result to assess your kidney function (eGFR). If you have not had a recent test, our reception staff can arrange this for you prior to your scan.
Our wide-bore machines are designed to maximise patient comfort, but if you suffer from claustrophobia or think you will find it difficult to remain still in an enclosed space, please inform our staff when you schedule your appointment (you may require sedation).
In preparation for your MRI please:
- fax/email your referral to the Epworth Medical Imaging location
- where your booking has been made
- continue to take medication as normal
- bring any previous medical imaging reports including X-rays to your appointment
- bring recent blood test results to your appointment (if you are over 60 years)
- do not wear jewellery on the day of your appointment
- bring your favourite CD to listen to (if desired).
On the day of your appointment
Upon arrival for your appointment, you will present to our reception, where our friendly staff will greet you and inform you about what will happen next. Please arrive at least 30 minutes before your stated appointment.
You will be given a small enema and asked to evacuate your bowel.
Once it is time for your scan one of our MRI radiographers will take you through to the MRI area where they will confirm your details and ask you to change into a gown. You will be asked to remove any metallic items such as jewellery.
All valuables may be safely stored in a locker that is provided to you.
A final check of your MRI safety form will be performed and you will be asked to go to the toilet to empty your bladder and bowel just prior to commencing the scan.
Our radiographer or nurse will insert an intravenous cannula into your arm using a tiny needle. This will be used for administering the following agents:
- Buscopan: This is a medication that slows down the involuntary movement of your small bowel so that there is minimal movement artefact from internal organs on your images. Please tell our staff if you have any heart conditions, glaucoma or allergies.
- MRI contrast medium: A gadolinium-based contrast medium is administered to assess the blood flow to your prostate which is useful in the diagnosis of prostate cancer.
If you have any questions about any of these agents please ask our staff beforehand.
You will be escorted into the MRI room where you will be asked to lay on the examination table. We will position a lightweight belt-like structure over your pelvis (this receives and transmits images). A small pillow will be placed under your knees for comfort.
You must be as still as possible during the scan. There will be breaks between sequences and you may be instructed to hold your breath for certain scans. Please breathe gently from the chest, not deeply from the abdomen, as motion from deep breathing can affect scan quality.
Throughout the procedure you will be able to communicate directly with the radiographer, who will monitor the study through a glass window from an adjacent room. A call buzzer will be placed into your hand. Press it if you need to contact the radiographer during your scan.
Our low-noise machines are quieter than most. You will be given headphones to minimise noise and will have the option to listen to music of your choice.
The total scan time of a prostate MRI is 30 to 40 minutes.
After your scan, a nurse or radiographer will remove the cannula from your arm. You can then dress, collect your belongings and report to reception. You will be presented with hardcopy films or a CD to take with you. The radiologist will produce a report that will be sent directly to your GP or specialist. Please contact your referring doctor to discuss your results.
Epworth Medical Imaging accepts cash, cheque, EFTFOS, MasterCard and Visa for on-the-day payment. If you have provided your bank details to Medicare, claims can be lodged electronically to ensure that your Medicare rebate is deposited directly into your bank account.
Pensioner Concession, Health Care, Commonwealth Seniors Health and Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold cardholders will be bulk-billed for all Medicare-eligible outpatient items. Some surgical procedures and scans that are not covered under the Medicare Benefits Schedule may incur an out-of-pocket cost. Our staff will inform you of costs prior to your examination. Please present your Medicare card and any concession cards to reception on arrival.Request an appointment