• MenuClose

MRI scan

treatment icon

Treatment / diagnostic for:

An MRI scan is used to take detailed images inside your body and can help diagnose a range of conditions.

  • It’s a key tool for diagnosing problems and planning treatment
  • Modern techniques capture a high level of detail 
  • The procedure takes up to an hour 
  • Results in as little as 5 working days

Birmingham Prostate Clinic are a team of leading urologists and oncologists, who specialise in diagnosing and treating prostate, bladder and kidney conditions. Our team includes radiologists who specialise in urology.

Our consultants use MRI scans to see the body in close detail, to give accurate diagnoses and tailored treatments. MRI scans can also help avoid invasive procedures like biopsies unless they’re completely necessary.

Book an appointment

It’s time to get some answers about your health. Our expert consultants are available for appointments to discuss your symptoms and the tests and scans you might need.

Enquire now

What is an MRI?

MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. It uses magnets and radio waves to take 3D pictures inside your body. This creates more detailed images than other techniques like ultrasound, CT scans or X-rays.

How does an MRI work?

An MRI can create a detailed image of different types of tissue in the body, including soft tissue, bones, blood vessels, and organs.

Each type of body tissue contains a different water and fat content. This affects how the atoms respond to the magnet in the MRI scanner. Some areas appear light, and others appear dark, creating a black and white image inside the body.

Sometimes, an injection of a dye called a contrast agent is used to help increase the contrast between similar tissues, to make them easier to see.

What’s the purpose of an MRI?

An MRI can help diagnose lots of different conditions. In particular, it’s a key part of our consultants’ diagnostic pathway for bladder, kidney and prostate conditions, including helping to tell the difference between prostate cancer and an enlarged prostate.

Enlarged prostate

An MRI can help diagnose an enlarged prostate and measure its size to help plan what treatment is right for you. Enlarged prostate and prostate cancer show differences on an MRI, which can help your doctor decide the mostly likely diagnosis. 

Our consultants also use multiparametric MRI (mpMRI). This is specialised technique that gives extra detail about the prostate to help decide whether to have further check-ups or a prostate biopsy.

Prostate cancer

You may be offered an MRI if your consultant suspects you have prostate cancer, usually based on the results of your PSA test and prostate exam. 

Having an multiparametric MRI can help decide if a biopsy is necessary, making sure you only have one if your doctor has a high suspicion of prostate cancer. 

The MRI results also guide your biopsy later down the line, making sure targeted samples are taken from the areas most likely to have cancer. 

An MRI can also be used to check the stage of prostate cancer, and how aggressively it’s growing.

Bladder cancer

MRI scans are particularly good for showing how deep cancer has grown into your bladder. You might have an MRI for an initial diagnosis or to check how well treatment has worked.

Kidney cancer

CT scans are sometimes preferred for kidney cancer, but an MRI is helpful for checking whether the cancer has spread into the surrounding blood vessels. You might also have a routine MRI to screen for kidney cancer if you’re at a high risk. 

Why choose Birmingham Prostate Clinic?

We are a leading group of urological and cancer experts with a seamless patient pathway for personalised prostate treatments. 

Our consultants use a range of diagnostic tests like MRIs to pinpoint the cause of your symptoms. Once we’ve confirmed a diagnosis, we can put you on the right treatment pathway, with support from our expert multidisciplinary team at every step.

What to expect during an MRI

Before an MRI scan, you’ll need to remove any jewellery, glasses, hearing aids, and any other metal on your body. People with medical implants, like a pacemaker, might not be able to have an MRI. 

You might receive an injection of a dye to help your organs show up clearly on the scan. Sometimes, you need a blood test in advance to check your kidney function if a contrast injection is planned. 

During the procedure, you will lie completely still on a table, which slides inside the scanner. If this makes you nervous, tell your radiographer who may be able to make you feel more comfortable. 

The scan takes around 30 minutes to an hour. The machine won’t touch you, but it’s very noisy and you might feel warm. You might be offered hearing protection or headphones to listen to music. 

The radiographer will be in another room, but you can talk back and forth through an intercom. You also have a button to hold so you can call for assistance at any time during the scan.

When will you get your MRI results?

The MRI scans are reported by our specialist radiologists and we will send your results, usually within 48 hours, to your doctor who requested the scan. They’ll then contact you to explain the results and discuss next steps.

Our consultants know how important it is to get answers quickly. They have access to MRI scanners at local private clinics and hospitals to help speed up the process.

If your results lead to a diagnosis, you’re in the right place. Our consultants can put you straight onto a personalised pathway to treatment and support.

What are the risks of an MRI?

An MRI is a safe procedure. Unlike X-rays and CT scans, it doesn’t use any harmful radiation. If you have an injection of dye, you might temporarily feel dizzy, warm or have a headache. Allergic reactions to the contrast dye are extremely rare.

review photo
Reviewed by
  • Paul Crowe
  • Consultant Interventional Radiologist
  • March 2024

How can we help?

Get in touch with our friendly team to find out more about tests or treatment, or to book an appointment with an expert consultant near you.