Turkish Hospital’s Innovation Improves Prostate Cancer MR Imaging
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer mortality in men in Turkey, but diagnosing it can be a challenge, as most conventional methods are uncomfortable for patients. A hospital in Istanbul is using GE MR technology to change that.
“There is an unmet need in diagnostic tests for prostate cancer,” says Ersin Bayram, body and oncology MR applications manager at GE Healthcare. “The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test is not specific enough, and soft-tissue contrast is limited with other imaging modalities. MR (magnetic resonance) could fill this gap with its exquisite soft-tissue contrast.”
With the growing concern around prostate cancer in Turkey and MR imaging becoming more common, the hospital recognized it needed a better way to image the prostate, while also ensuring accurate diagnosis. Clear imaging is essential for both doctors and patients because it directly affects the treatment choice, follow-up, and patient management.
To address this, the Yedikule Surp Pırgiç Armenian Hospital in Istanbul innovated a new imaging process using its GE Healthcare 3.0T SIGNA Pioneer MR system with Total Digital Imaging (TDI) for increased image clarity.
This process eliminated the need for the use of an endorectal coil as part of the MR imaging process. This significantly improves the patient experience; however, the hospital found it also reduces scan times, allowing patients to spend less time in the machine.
With the previous system, the hospital completed about 25-30 prostate exams per year with endorectal coils. After using SIGNA Pioneer, they saw a twofold increase in those numbers within the first year. In the second year, they saw 100 patients, and in the third year, they scanned 100 patients in just five months.
MR provides high-resolution images with very high tissue contrast, which allows clinicians to see lesions within the small prostate gland to help them determine the extent of disease. Additionally, MR can show the restriction of movement of water molecules commonly seen in some prostate cancers, which can help clinicians detect and stage prostate cancer.
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located in front of the rectum and below the bladder, surrounding the urethra. This small imaging area means the MR system needs high-spatial-resolution imaging in a small area of interest.
Traditionally, an MR exam of the prostate involves an endorectal coil, a thin wire covered with a latex balloon that is inserted through a small plastic tube into the rectum. This location puts the coil as close as possible to the prostate for more detailed images. The Yedikule Surp Pırgiç Armenian Hospital’s new procedure eliminates the need for this unpleasant scanning process.
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