MRI Guided Prostate Biopsy

An estimated one in every six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in his lifetime, making effective diagnostic procedures crucial for successfully detecting and treating prostate cancer. The University of Chicago Medicine is one of a few institutions that performs MRI guided biopsies of suspected tumors in the prostate. For eligible patients, targeted biopsies offer a minimally invasive, highly accurate diagnosis for prostate cancer that requires fewer tissue samples.

What is an MRI guided prostate biopsy?

An MRI guided prostate biopsy is a procedure in which radiologists utilize magnetic resonance imaging to locate suspected tumors in the prostate and obtain tissue samples from suspicious areas. This ensures biopsies are highly targeted for greater accuracy with fewer samples.

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What are the benefits of an MRI guided prostate biopsy?

One major benefit of a targeted biopsy is the accuracy of the results. Prostate cancer often is difficult to detect when the tumors are small and localized. Using MRI technology provides radiologists with a cross-sectional view of the prostate for more precise identification of possible tumors. By directly targeting tumors, physicians will typically only need two to three tissue samples, while alternative methods could take up to 30.

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How is an MRI guided biopsy performed?

During the procedure an MRI-compatible needle sleeve is inserted three to four inches into the rectum. Using this imaging technology, your radiologist examine the prostate and direct the sleeve into a position that best targets any suspected lesion. From there, a needle will be placed through the sleeve and the radiologist will obtain 2-3 tissue samples for analysis. The entire process should take between 30 to 60 minutes.

The tissue samples will allow physicians to determine the scope of your diagnosis and will help to best determine the right treatment plan.

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Is a targeted prostate biopsy right for me?

You and your physician will decide if this procedure is right for you. Some factors to consider when determining if you could be a good candidate include:

  • Elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and negative biopsy results
  • Reoccurring PSA elevation after treatment
  • Identifying the location, size and/or stage of a prostate cancer diagnosis
  • Monitoring low-risk prostate cancer
  • Seeking localized therapy for prostate cancer

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What are the risks associated with MRI guided biopsies?

An MRI guided biopsy is a minimally invasive procedure, but as with any procedure, there are some associated risks such as infection or bleeding. You will be prescribed antibiotics that you will need to start taking before the procedure to minimize the risk of infection. It is expected that patients may experience a little bleeding from the rectum or a small amount of blood in your urine or semen for a few days following the procedure.

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Prostate Cancer Team

Medical Oncology 

Walter Stadler, MD
Russell Szmulewitz, MD
Olwen Hahn, MD
Peter O’Donnell, MD


Tatjana Antic, MD
Gladell Paner, MD

Radiation Oncology 

Stanley Liauw, MD


Aytekin Oto, MD
Stephen Thomas, MD


Arieh Shalhav, MD
Gregory Zagaja, MD
Scott Eggener, MD
Norm Smith, MD


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