This technique combines MRI imaging with ultrasound biopsy techniques, which fuse together to give the physician a complete picture of the prostate.
Since this procedure is really a combination of procedures, both a radiologist and a specially trained urologist are utilized.
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The patients that will be recommended for this procedure are those who are considered at-risk for prostate cancer or are experiencing symptoms of prostate cancer. If there is a strong family history of prostate cancer, then the physician may be more likely to recommend this procedure.
However, there are several other tests that will be used to help determine if MRI fusion biopsy will be diagnostically beneficial. One such test is the prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, blood test. Elevated PSA levels can be an indication of the presence of cancer that would warrant further tests. MRI fusion biopsy may also be recommended if the patient had abnormal or inconclusive results on a digital rectal exam, or DRE.
This procedure is considered low-risk and doesn't require a hospital stay. Additionally, the only preparation that it requires is that the patient self-administer an enema the morning of the test. Patients should always discuss all their medications before a procedure, as it may be necessary to halt anticoagulants. Most of the time, the physician will prescribe an antibiotic for the patient to take a few days prior to and after the procedure as a precaution. Otherwise, most patients are able to continue their medications and eat as normal prior to this procedure.
This procedure will actually consist of two sessions that may or may not be performed on the same day. The first of the sessions will be for the patient to have an MRI scan performed. A specially trained radiologist will then highlight the areas of concern on the images. Then, a trained urologist will perform the ultrasound biopsy. This will produce a separate set of images of the same areas. These images are layered on a screen that is able to match two different types of images coordinate by coordinate. The end result is a 3D image that the urologist can manipulate to investigate the areas of concern that the radiologist has highlighted.
The recovery process for MRI fusion biopsy is typically mild. Patients will be allowed to drive themselves home shortly after the biopsy and may return to most activities as they feel comfortable doing so. The physician will discuss symptoms that the patient should look out for, such as blood in their stool or urine. The results will typically be available within a couple of days.
The main benefit of this technique is that it combines imaging techniques to provide a more complete picture than has previously been available. This advanced imaging makes it less likely for healthcare providers to miss potentially cancerous growths. This technique has also been shown to reduce the number of repeat biopsies that patients need.
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