(Baltimore, MD) -- The Urology Specialists of Maryland at Mercy Medical Center now offers patients MRI TRUS Fusion Biopsy, a new method to biopsy suspected prostate tumors by fusing MRI images of the gland with information gathered through transrectal ultrasound (TRUS).

According to Dr. Blaine Kristo, medical director of the Urology center, the procedure serves to identify clinically significant, high-grade tumors in the prostate. 

“Ultrasound-guided biopsy has been the current standard of care for confirming prostate cancer. However, ultrasound alone doesn’t provide the resolution necessary to distinguish cancer, especially very small lesions, from healthy tissue-- hence the need for biopsy, where more than 20 needles may be needed to identify a tumor. In addition, ultrasound targets the gland’s peripheral areas, meaning you may miss some cancers located in the front, middle and top portions of it,” Dr. Kristo explained.

With the MRI/TRUS fusion technique, patients with an elevated PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) value first undergo an MRI scan of the prostate, which is much more effective in revealing details in soft tissue. Radiologists then review the scans and identify suspicious areas. 

“This is followed by an ultrasound probe to examine the prostate. Special software is used to overlay the MRI images, providing fine-grained detailed, 3-dimensional views of the gland. These fused images help guide the physician in placing biopsy needles with great precision, guiding the needle directly to areas that look suspicious on MRI, down to the millimeter. Biopsies are mapped, targeted and tracked in an outpatient procedure under local anesthesia that typically takes about 20 minutes,” said Dr. Brad Cogan, Chair of the Department of Radiology at Mercy.

Dr. Cogan noted that this technique may improve cancer detection rates by 10 to 15 percent, and according to some research, as much as 60 percent.

The MRI/TRUS fusion biopsy is a “particularly good option,” Dr. Kristo said, for patients who:

  • Have elevated PSA levels and are considering biopsy
  • Are due for a repeat prostate biopsy for possible prostate cancer
  • Have elevated or rising PSA levels despite previous negative prostate biopsy
  • Are under active surveillance for prostate cancer

“The fusion biopsy approach helps reduce the number of repeat biopsies for men who have fluctuating PSA values or have small, slow-growing lesions who are in a state of ‘watchful waiting,’” Dr. Kristo added.

Founded in 1874 by The Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated Catholic hospital with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine, and the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information about Mercy, visit www.mdmercy.com, MDMercyMedia on Facebook and Twitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.

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