Benefits and Risks - Prostate MR Scan

Benefits

  • A prostate MR scan is a noninvasive imaging technique that does not involve exposure to ionizing radiation.
  • MR images 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 tumors, such as prostate cancer.
  • A prostate MR scan has proven valuable in diagnosing a broad range of conditions, including prostate cancer, and benign conditions such as benign prostatic hyperplasia and infection.
  • MRI enables the discovery of abnormalities that might be obscured by bone with other imaging methods.
  • The contrast material used in MRI exams is less likely to produce an allergic reaction than the iodine-based contrast materials used for conventional CT scanning.

Risks

  • A prostate MR scan poses almost no risk to the average patient.
  • 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.
  • Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis is currently a recognized, but rare, complication of MR scans believed to be caused by the injection of high doses of gadolinium contrast material in patients with very poor kidney function.

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