MRI Fusion Biopsies: Best Way to Diagnose Prostate Cancer?

MRI Fusion Biopsies: The Best Way to Diagnose Prostate Cancer?

Early detection of prostate cancer is not the only key to surviving the disease with the potential for a cure, but also crucial in preserving the quality of your life in Los Angeles. For decades, the standard form of prostate biopsies has had its share of hits and misses when diagnosing for cancer, with close to 20-30% chance of missing the disease. While the successes are certainly something to be grateful for, it’s hard not to lament the failures.

The problem is that traditional methods of diagnosis (blind biopsy or by ultrasound guidance alone) this cancer have may be falsely negative for cancer or report less aggressive cancer while easily missing the real target. This means that nearly one in three American men who undergo a procedure such as a prostatectomy are found to have a tumor that is much more aggressive than determined by their prostate cancer biopsy. At Comprehensive Urology in Los Angeles, we specialize in screening, diagnosing, and treating prostate cancer. One of the most common questions we get is how to find prostate cancer more effectively.

At Comprehensive Urology, we specialize in screening, diagnosing, and treating prostate cancer. One of the most common questions we get is how to find prostate cancer more effectively.

We may have an answer for you: MRI/Ultrasound fusion biopsy.

Standard Prostate Biopsy

Perhaps you’ve read or heard stories of men who’ve had experiences similar to the following example:

A man has a prostate cancer screening blood test that shows high levels of Prostate Specific Antigens (PSA), yet the traditional ultrasound-guided biopsy returned negative for prostate cancer, so he goes about his life relieved that he is cancer-free…

Months or perhaps even a year or two later, the man notices he has problems urinating or starts feeling sharp pains in his side, so he sees his doctor, who diagnoses him with an enlarged prostate and prescribes the requisite medication. Finally, after months of frustration and dissatisfaction with his doctor’s diagnoses, he sees a different urologist, who administers the MRI fusion-guided biopsy.

Imagine the man’s horror at discovering that not only does he have cancer of the prostate, he’s in a fight for his life because it’s at an advanced stage. Had it not been for this precise, targeted prostate biopsy, which found the tumor in an unusual location that the standard cancer biopsy had missed, the man would not have survived his cancer.

This is merely an example, based on a real case, depicting the growing number of patients suffering from similar circumstances.

Traditional prostate biopsies haven’t changed much in the past three to four decades. Unfortunately, neither have the pitfalls associated with them. In a standard prostate biopsy, one or two tissue samples are methodically removed from various zones of your prostate, usually a total of six to 12 samples in all. While this is effective in detecting larger tumors, this regularly misses smaller cancerous areas. This is where your danger lies – and where the controversy surrounding standard biopsy begins.

Once the tissue samples are evaluated, the pathologist can determine the tumor’s level of aggressiveness, which, along with other variables, allows your doctor to recommend the requisite treatment.

MRI Fusion Biopsies: They’re New, But Are They Better?

Just as a standard prostate biopsy may miss smaller tumors, undergoing an MRI alone for detecting the disease may have the same problem.

That’s where the MRI fusion biopsies are different, as the innovative detection methods use sophisticated technology for a more precise, targeted prostate cancer biopsy. Quicker and more comprehensive, MRI fusion biopsies in Los Angeles are exactly what the name implies – a combination of MRI and ultrasound technologies that accurately detects the patients’ tumor and precisely extracts a sample for assessment.

One huge benefit over a traditional biopsy is that an MRI fusion-guided biopsy covers the entire prostate (the traditional method covers less than 10%). Previously unseen tumors are now found, and those missed due to being in nearly inaccessible tissue are now easily detected. Learn

How Does a Targeted Prostate Biopsy Work and Improve the Current Biopsy Process?

The procedure is short, minimally invasive, and done under local anesthesia or sedation. Prior to the procedure, an MRI of your prostate is administered for one purpose only – assessing your prostate for potential tumors. Any areas that indicate the presence of a possible tumor are marked and analyzed in a 3-D reconstruction of your prostate that highlights the areas suspected of housing a tumor. During the prostate biopsy itself, ultrasound will “visualize” the prostate with the added MRI images being superimposed in real time.

Because your doctor can perform this targeted prostate biopsy on the areas most suspected of containing a tumor, this can reduce the number of lesions that are missed. This new, innovative technology aims to increase the accuracy of biopsies for prostate cancer as well as reduce the number of procedures needed and the risks of infections.

To be fair, this MRI fusion-guided biopsy is still relatively new, so data is still being gathered to fully gauge the efficacy of the procedure. As such, not every patient undergoes this procedure. However, early returns are promising and the future of prostate cancer screening, assessing, diagnosing, staging, and treatment in Los Angeles is trending up.

Learn more about MRI fusion biopsies at

Contact the Prostate Cancer Specialists in LA for World-Class Care

Prostate cancer is certainly curable, but traditional biopsies often miss tumors that are smaller or in uncommon places in your prostate. If you’ve had one or more standard prostate cancer biopsies but are still dissatisfied with the results, make an appointment with an expert Los Angeles urologist at Comprehensive Urology by filling out the online contact form or calling 310.499.2756.

In a nutshell: MRI/Ultrasound fusion biopsy of the prostate

  • The newest and most accurate way to sample the entire prostate gland for cancer
  • Helps decrease missed lesions and “false negative” biopsy results (missing cancer)
  • Increases the biopsy yield and detection of more aggressive lesions that would have been missed

Next, read Everything You’ve Wanted to Know about Vaginal Cosmetic Treatments.

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The information available on this web site is provided for informational purposes only. This information is not intended to replace a medical consultation where a physician's judgment may advise you about specific disorders, conditions and or treatment options. We hope the information will be useful for you to become more educated about your health care decisions.