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Prostate MRI  

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is an imaging procedure used mainly to create high quality images of the inner organs of the human body. The problems which cannot be detected in any other method such as ultra sound, computerized tomography scan etc can be detected in an MRI scan. It is based on the principles of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) a spectroscopic technique used by scientists to acquire microscopic chemical and physical information on molecules. MRI is a highly developed volume imaging technique that can be done for detection of many problems like tumours, blood vessel diseases, injury etc. 

MRI Procedure 

An MRI scan of head/brain is performed for detecting problems like aneurysm, bleeding in brain or injury. It can also help in detection of problems concerning optic and auditory nerves. Magnetic Resonance Angiography is a process in which the flow of blood through the blood vessels can be seen. By this procedure, problems of the arteries and veins, a blocked vessel, or dissection (torn lining of a blood vessel) can be seen. An MRI can identify problems of the bones and joints (arthritis), bone tumors, cartilage problems, and problems of temporomandibular joint, torn ligaments etc. When X-ray results are not clear, MRI can find if a bone is broken. It can check the nerves of the spine and the discs for conditions like spinal stenosis, disc bulges and spinal tumors. 

Magnetic Resonance Imaging plays an important role in detection of problems in abdomen and pelvis. It can find problems in the abdomen such as liver, gall bladder, pancreas, kidneys and the bladder. Bleeding, tumors or blockage can be detected accurately. A prostate MRI is generally used after the prostate biopsy in order to conclude if the cancer is restrained or propagated outside of the prostate gland. Rarely MRI evaluates other prostate problems such as prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). In some cases, in order to show certain organs and structures more clearly, contrast material containing gadolinium may be used during an MRI scan. Depending on the organ to be scanned, an MRI procedure may take 30 minutes to 2 hours.  

MRI – Imaging Techniques 

Gradient-Echo Imaging - Imaging with this technique is more sensitive to magnetic field due to the use of wind-up gradient or refocusing gradient. 

Multi-slice Imaging – Multi-slice imaging is the normal mode on a clinical scanner as it enables voluminous imaging of anatomy within shortest time. 

Volume Imaging (3D Imaging) – This imaging technique refers to acquirement of magnetic resonance data from volume instead of single tomographic slice.  

Oblique Imaging – This is a common imaging technique because most of the diagnostically useful imaging planes are not perpendicular. 

Spin-Echo Imaging - The advantage of this technique is that it gives presentation in the form of a timing diagram. 

Chemical Contrast Agents - Chemical contrast agent (CA) is a chemical substance that is introduced inside the body to alter the contrast between the tissues.  

MRI Side Effects 

There are no harmful side effects from the magnetic field of MRI. There is a slender risk of an allergic reaction, especially if contrast material is used at the time of MRI. But generally reactions are gentle and can be treated easily. There also is a slight risk of an infection that easily subsides with topical medicines.