Pre-operative MRI scans 'could reduce risk of prostate nerve damage'

24 January 2012

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) could help reduce the risk of nerve damage in prostate cancer patients before surgery, according to a new study.

Scientists at the Radiological Society of North America found that a pre-operative scan could help doctors to make more informed decisions about how to go about surgery to remove cancerous cells.

"I think preoperative MRI will be useful for surgeons who are uncertain whether to spare or resect the nerves," said Daniel Margolis, assistant professor of radiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles.
He added: "It identifies important information leading to a change in the surgical plan in almost a third of patients."

Published online in the journal Radiology, the research cited the fact that incontinence and impotence are major risks associated with prostate operations and that pre-operative imaging could help prevent these conditions in men diagnosed with the second most common form of cancer in American men.

According to the Prostate Cancer Charity, it is investing over £2 million to fund cancer studies to find solutions to the most challenging research areas of the disease.

Posted by Edward Bartel

Margolis, Daniel, et al, "Use of MR Imaging to Determine Management of the Neurovascular Bundles at Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy", Radiology, January 2012.

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