Prostate Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a powerful tool for screening and diagnosis. Many consider it to be the best way to detect diseases in their earliest, most treatable stage.
The exam is non-invasive, uses no radiation, and our state-of-the-art equipment offers a more comfortable imaging experience. It is often ordered when more detail is needed based on results of other studies, when the cause of symptoms is unclear during a physical exam or when an asymptomatic patient has increased risk of certain disease.
It’s invaluable for an MRI assessment of the prostate, which provides detailed images of the prostate and surrounding tissues. It’s used in combination with proper clinical assessment and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. It can be very helpful in determining the management of prostate-related disease.
For this exam, an injectable dye called contrast is often administered intravenously to highlight the prostate. The prostate absorbs the contrast dye, and will glow on the MRI scan, allowing for a more detailed image. There is a risk of allergic reaction to the contrast agent, so you will be asked about your allergies and other medical conditions when booking your exam.
HOW DO I PREPARE FOR MY EXAM?
- Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment.
- Take all prescribed medications as directed.
- Wear comfortable clothing free of metal zippers or buttons.
- Please let us know if you are, or may be, pregnant, or if you've had recent surgery.
- Please also let us know if you have metal in your body; here is a list of metal objects that may be a concern.
- Children may have parents in the exam room with them.
- Your technologist may ask you to remove any metallic objects, which are unsafe near the MRI magnet.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING MY EXAM?
- You will be asked to change into a gown.
- If a contrast solution is needed, we will insert an intravenous (IV) line on the inside of your elbow. Please note that IV contrast is an additional cost of $250.
- Once the IV is in place your technologist will position you on the cushioned scanner table in the MRI suite. We will do our best to make you comfortable.
- An MRI can be loud, so you will be provided with headphones or ear plugs to reduce the noise. Eye masks are available upon request for patients who have difficulty relaxing in a confined space. You are also given an emergency call bell to stop the exam, if needed.
- Once you are relaxed and comfortable, a sensor will be positioned around the body part being scanned. The table will then move slowly into the MRI scanner, which is well lit and ventilated.
- You will be asked to hold very still, as movement may result in blurring of images. Your technologist will be close by at all times.
- Once we have successfully captured your images, your IV will be removed (if you have one) and you are free to leave.
WHEN WILL I GET MY RESULTS?
We do our best to have our radiologists interpret the information and forward the results to your doctor by the next business day.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
In Calgary, MRI exams are provided at our Mayfair Place location as private pay exams and are not covered by Alberta Health Care. Prices are per body area. If additional body areas are scheduled within the same appointment, discounts apply. We also offer a 10% Seniors discount (65+) that can be applied to the first MRI exam.
In Saskatchewan, we provide MRIs as a publicly funded, community-based service under contract with the Saskatchewan Health Authority and as a private pay exam. Private MRI services in Saskatchewan are provided in accordance with and under the legislation of the Province of Saskatchewan. Pricing is per body area, similar to Alberta pricing (with similar discounts).
Your health spending account or group medical insurance plan may cover the cost of a private MRI that is prescribed by a qualified health care practitioner. You will need to check with your plan administrator for coverage details.