A high-tech MRI-ultrasound imaging system can result in fewer biopsies and better treatment decisions for prostate cancer patients. Dr. Robert Gaertner and Dr. Christopher Knoedler are experts in the UroNav® fusion biopsy system and have this technology available for their patients.
UroNav is a unique technology that fuses images from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with ultrasound to create a detailed, 3-D view of the prostate. When physicians use this improved view, it helps them perform biopsies with much higher precision, and increases prostate cancer detection.
Many prostate cancer specialists feel that UroNav revolutionizes how they diagnose prostate cancer and make treatment decisions. Before UroNav was available, when prostate cancer was suspected due to results of a PSA blood test or digital rectal exam, a physician performed a prostate biopsy which typically involved sticking a needle into 12 different areas of the prostate. This traditional method can miss a tumor. Because of this fact, physicians were led to falsely conclude that either the patient didn’t have cancer, or they were forced to perform one or more additional biopsies to find the suspected tumor.
When this new fusion biopsy system is used, the patient undergoes a MRI exam before undergoing a biopsy. The MRI is used to detect and pinpoint lesions in the prostate that may be cancerous. The MR image is fused with ultrasound imaging in real time during the actual biopsy. The system employs GPS-type technology to let the doctor guide the biopsy needle directly to the exact lesions detected by the MRI, leading to significantly fewer needle biopsies.
This technology when compared with traditional biopsy techniques that randomly sample the prostate, is a vast improvement. It is instrumental in helping physicians detect hard-to-find and often aggressive prostate cancers and can help provide greater certainty regarding the extent and aggressiveness of the disease. In many cases it makes it possible for patients to avoid multiple and unnecessary repeat prostate biopsies.
Biopsies guided by MRI/ultrasound fusion will also enable physicians and patients to opt for active surveillance, instead of surgery when appropriate. When patients are put under active surveillance, they hold off on having surgery or radiation and instead undergo periodic digital rectal exams, PSA tests and ultrasounds to see whether the cancer is growing.