The Princess Margaret - MRI Clinic Page
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging technique that uses a powerful magnetic field to visualize the internal structures of the body. MRI has excellent soft-tissue contrast and is therefore capable of detecting tumours in the prostate and other tissues in the body.
In many cases, a contrast agent will be given during the scan in order to highlight the blood vessels of the prostate. The contrast agent is a special dye that is given intravenously (by injection into a vein). This helps to identify prostate cancer since tumours often have abnormally high amounts of blood vessels surrounding them.
In addition, a procedure known as MR spectroscopy (MRS) is a non-invasive diagnostic test that may be able to detect the aggressiveness of prostate cancer. It looks at the biochemical changes that take place within the tumour. While MRI is used to identify the anatomical location of a tumour, MRS compares the chemical composition of normal tissue with abnormal tumour tissue to further characterize the tumour.
A number of recent studies have demonstrated that MRI is a useful diagnostic tool for locating tumours, determining their size and has a potential role in predicting their aggressiveness.
If you are coming to the Princess Margaret for an MRI, you will be going to the Magnetic Resonance Imaging Centre. You will be asked to put on a hospital gown and remove all metal jewelry or any credit cards. The MRI machine is a long tunnel with open ends. You will lay down on a moving bed that will slide you into position in the MRI machine. The machine is quite loud when it runs, so you will be given earplugs to wear during the test. Typically an MRI takes about 30 minutes. For more information on what to expect with MRI at the Princess Margaret, visit the MRI page on the Princess Margaret website.