MRI Prostate Benefits Risks

  • MRI is a non-invasive imaging technique that does not involve exposure to ionizing radiation.
  • Images created of the soft-tissue structures of the body including the prostate and other pelvic structures are clearer and more detailed than with other imaging methods. This detail makes MRI a valuable tool in early diagnosis and evaluation of the extent of tumours, such as prostate cancer.
  • MRI has proven valuable in diagnosing a broad range of conditions, including cancer, and benign conditions such as benign prostatic hyperplasia and infection.
  • MR diffusion and MR perfusion imaging can evaluate other tissue properties of normal prostate tissue and prostate cancer.
  • MRI enables the discovery of abnormalities that might be obscured by bone with other imaging methods. 
  • The contrast material used in an MRI examination is less likely to produce an allergic reaction than the iodine-based contrast materials used for conventional x-rays and CT scanning.
  • The MRI examination poses almost no risk to the average patient when appropriate safety guidelines are followed.
  • If sedation is used, there are risks of excessive sedation. However, the Radiographer or Nurse will monitor your vital signs to minimise this risk.
  • Although the strong magnetic field is not harmful in itself, implanted medical devices that contain metal may malfunction or cause problems during an MRI exam.
  • Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis is currently a recognized, but rare, complication of MRI believed to be caused by the injection of high doses of gadolinium-based contrast material in patients with very poor kidney function. Careful assessment of kidney function before considering a contrast injection minimises the risk of this very rare complication.
  • There is a very slight risk of an allergic reaction if contrast material is injected. Such reactions usually are mild and easily controlled by medication. If you experience the symptoms of an allergic reaction, a Radiologist or other Physician will be available for immediate assistance.
  • High-quality images are assured only if you are able to remain perfectly still while the images are being recorded. If you are anxious, confused or in severe pain, you may find it difficult to lie still during imaging.
  • A person who is very large may not fit into the opening of the MRI machine.
  • The presence of an implant or other metallic object sometimes makes it difficult to obtain clear images. Patient movement can have the same effect.
  • MRI cannot always distinguish between cancer tissue and inflammation or presence of blood products within the prostate. This can sometimes occur if a prostate biopsy is also being carried out. To avoid an overlap between the two, where possible a prostate MRI should be performed 6-8 weeks after prostate biopsy, to allow remnants of bleeding to resolve.