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Radiology Exam: Prostate MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a strong magnetic field instead of X-rays to provide remarkably clear and detailed pictures of internal organs, such as the prostate gland. MRI requires specialized equipment to allow evaluation of the prostate with detail that is not available with other imaging methods.

How to Prepare

You will be asked to eat a light or liquid diet (soups, soft cooked food, puddings, etc.) one day before the exam. You will also have to clear your bowels with a Fleet enema (saline laxative) the evening before or the morning of the study.

Please bring your prescribed medication with you on the day of your exam.

Inform your referring physician about any implants you may have in your body, which may not be compatible with the strong magnetic field of the MR scanner. Your physician and MRI technologist will ensure that all previous surgeries and implants are safe prior to the imaging.

Some patients may get claustrophobic inside the MRI magnet and may require light sedation. Please speak with your doctor if you feel you may need to be sedated for the duration of the exam.

What to Expect

Since the prostate is an organ located just in front of the rectum, an imaging device called a coil needs to be placed in the rectum. The coil has a special inflatable balloon that will secure the coil in place during the imaging. Patients who cannot tolerate the placement of the coil within the rectum can still undergo a prostate MRI with a wrap-around pelvic coil.

Patients may experience a warming sensation from the endorectal coil. In very rare cases, localized heating of the body could occur due to the radio waves emitted from the MRI, where skin temperature elevates at the location of the abdominal coil or endorectal coil. If you feel a heating sensation, please notify the MRI technologist immediately. However, the MR scanner and the MR coil have been designed to prevent this from happening, and there have been no reports of local heating in patients scanned to date.

Prostate MRI brochure (PDF)

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